In a world where you need experience to get experience, and you need money to make money, what becomes of the vast majority of SA youth who have neither?
Getting a tertiary education is essential, but the amount of challenges faced by the majority of South African youth to get there, might just discourage you along the way. Before you give up realise that there other ways of getting an education, if you are willing to apply yourself.
Firstly, establish where your passions lie. It’s self-defeating choosing a career path you don’t love, because not having a formal education means you will have to work twice as hard to get ahead. Your foot-in-the-door will be your talent, passion and hard work, sometimes without remuneration. Most local governments run internships and skills development programmes that normally offer a stipend to cover transport and food. Be proactive. Check newspapers for posts every week. The internet must be your friend.
For instance, the Western Cape government launched the PAY (Premier’s Advancement of Youth) project a year ago, where matriculants are placed in a department of their choice with a stipend, on-the-job training and career guidance. If a government job is not up your alley, join a youth organisation that can expose you to a myriad of opportunities. Or volunteer your services with a drama group or publication (some magazines and newspapers take unpaid interns).
So you’ve now decided what you would love to do, you have countless dreams that you wish to pursue but honestly, your finances are not on your side. You’ve just left high school and a tertiary education is not an option. Perhaps you’ve dropped out of varsity and you’re now looking for a way forward. All these are valid issues that out government must deal with, however you are just as responsible for your own future.
Go to www.tourism.gov.za for internship opportunities
Visit the following link for more information on the PAY project: http://www.westerncape.gov.za/eng/pubs/public_info/P/239309
If you want to be a writer or stylist visit an internet cafe and google contact details for Magazines in your town. Contact them and let them know you would like to volunteer your services and learn.
If your passion lies in the film industry, attend at least one production and track down the party responsible for the play and get contact details.
Visit the department of education in your town. Ask to speak to someone who can give you information on internship opportunities.
Also if you are in Cape Town for example visit the Artscape Theatre Resource centre. For a R50 membership fee you get access to information on bursaries, internships and jobs within the arts industry in the western Cape.
These may seem trivial, but reality is, the simple steps that you take towards your dream, will eventually pay off. There is no such thing as luck. You need to hustle.