The 15th of July is World Youth Skills Day, but for the De Beers Group and IYF upskilling the youth is a daily priority.

The De Beers Group has been working closely with the IYF for several years now, and have committed themselves to increasing opportunities for young people through practical education and training that effectively prepare students for industry.

Recognising the inequitable barriers to entry from tertiary education into the labour market, the De Beers Group and IYF have facilitated specific courses aimed at honing student’s behavioural skills, providing them with key emotional management and critical thinking skills that will set them in good stead when transitioning into the working environment.

One of these programmes is Skills for Life (S4L), which has recently been extended to Botswana as part of the Building Forever commitment.  The upscaled initiative is hosting a workshop on the 27th of July designed to assess skills gaps within the country’s job sectors and identify sustainable opportunities for students.

The programme has already had a successful roll-out in Limpopo, proving its necessity by securing 1229 internships and work-based learning positions to date. Many students have praised the programme stating that it helps focus their long term goals, assists them in approaching team-based tasks and managing conflict, while simultaneously provoking critical thought and analysis.

Shifting labour markets and rapidly changing job expectations means that students need to be adaptable and agile in meeting the unpredictable needs of industry. This puts pressure on educators to keep up with real world demands – and the S4L curricula is specifically designed to navigate these changes.

Importantly, S4L also understands the necessity to empower educators and facilitators in the TVET system, maintaining updated curricula that align with industry requirements.  IYF’s implementation of a CPD framework for TVET lecturers allows them to acquire recognition as a professional in their field. The framework is intended to facilitate IYF’s commitment to self-development within the TVET system.

The De Beers Group and IYF are determined to shape a better future for today’s youth, with the understanding that this is not a fly-by-night initiative, but rather a committed and sustainable long-term approach, creating efficient avenues between TVET colleges, the Department of Higher Education (DHET), as well as training in the private sector enhancing productivity within industries and ultimately growing national economic output.

In the long term, this method of socio-economic development will benefit the economic growth, knowledge capital and global competitiveness of Southern African countries. This World Youth Skills Day, the De Beers Group and IYF are further urging unity in recognising the potential of young people as catalysts for change. Providing the youth with key life skills and employment opportunities have knock-on effects in building a prosperous and sustainable future for all. We need to remain committed to empowering the youth in their journey, leaving no young person behind.