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50 programme participants from Youth Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development (YLED) were recognised at the organisation’s 12th annual graduation and awards ceremony held recently in Johannesburg. These learners, also known as YLEDers, successfully completed a 28-week long programme focused on enhancing leadership, entrepreneurship and social and academic skills. They also had the opportunity to learn from industry experts in a range of fields – including communication, financial literacy and entrepreneurship – and put their theoretical knowledge into practice.
Approximately 83% of South African youth under the age of 25 do not have access to formal tertiary education, while 55% are unemployed. There is therefore a critical need for the rights skills set and motivation to not only enhance the youth’s ability to find formal employment but to also pursue entrepreneurial activity; a vital contributor to the continued growth of the country’s GDP.
— Steven Zwane Founder of YLED
During the programme, learners were expected to develop innovative ideas and launch businesses using the life skills training received. These initiatives aimed at getting learners to contribute to the economic revitalisation of South Africa and the reduction of poverty and youth unemployment. Graduating YLEDers, as well as participating school principals, all received certificates of participation, with select candidates receiving excellence awards in various categories, such as:
Equaliser Award – Nhlakanipho Magubane – Lethukuthula Secondary School
Best Positive Word Award – Nkosinathi Ndaba – Lethukuthula Secondary School
Life Skills Award – Nombuso Mthembu – Glenvista High School
Leadership Award – Reolan Moodley – Jeppe High School forBoys
Best YLEDer – Margaret Mashala – Jeppe High School forGirls
Entrepreneurship Spirit Award – Linda Mothapo – McAuley HouseSchool
Every year, grade 11 learners from various YLED partner schools in Johannesburg are encouraged to submit motivational letters to their YLED recruitment representatives in order to participate in the programme. Approximately 60-70 learners – who stay within a 50 km radius of where classes are held in Johannesburg – are then selected.
This year, for the first time, YLED opened up registration to the public, communicating through radio stations such as Metro FM, UJ FM, Kaya FM and via their social media platforms. The YLED project team spends two to three weeks in January selecting candidates for the programme and in February, the journey begins with a life skills camp. Applications for next year will open again in January 2017.
Here’s to another successful 2016 YLED programme, made possible with support from our sponsors and partners. In order to ensure that 2017 is just as successful, we would like to encourage more South African corporates to assist us in developing the country’s youth. This can be in the form of financial assistance, skills transfer and volunteering. If you are looking for a community project to be a part of – this is it.
— Thabo Serame, YLED NPO Deputy Treasurer & Entrepreneurship Challenge Director
Johannesburg-based, grade 11 learners who are interested in more information on the YLED programme, can contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Your future is in your hands!