Online support for school leavers

TASNEEM HASSAN

A Goodwood shelter for abused and abandoned children is going to test a computer program that runs like a game to help school leavers find a career best suited for them.

Rainbow of Hope, an NGO which is home to about 13 children of all ages, will launch the pilot career-guidance project on Tuesday March 1.

It can be used by any school pupil from Grade 9 onwards or unemployed adults.

Alison Alexander, Rainbow of Hope’s owner, started a computer training room at the home two years ago, and looking at the impact she hopes the career-guidance project will have on the children, she’s glad she did.

Ms Alexander said schools in the area did not fully prepare children to make career choices.“Sometimes children just feel that because they don’t know what to do, a job is the answer. But it’s not, a career and passion is very important.”

When she met Deon Warrin from Mind Magic Consulting (MMC), a business consulting and accredited training company based in Salt River, she saw the perfect opportunity for this project.

MMC provides the program that lets users log on from any computer to complete the nine-module career-guidance course.

The aim is to roll the program out into other communities after it has been piloted at Rainbow of Hope. Mr Warrin said career-guidance programs often had big drop-out rates. To counter this, they had found it was necessary for users to identify who they were and what their strengths and weaknesses were before choosing a career.

“The program can help you identify this, and then matches a career that fits you,” said Mr Warrin. Jade Dowrie, a Rainbow of Hope volunteer who is now working with Mr Warrin at MMC, said game effects in the programme helped to make it absorbing.

“This will keep the youth entertained and interested,” she said, adding the key was to keep it digital, fun and relevant.

“Genevieve Lentz, a teacher at a Bonteheuwel school, believes the program can help young people map out their futures.

“It’s much needed in our communities, because pupils leave school with no direction or idea of what they want to do after school.

“The school does not prepare them in terms of work etiquette and so forth,” she said. School leavers often failed to tap opportunities, including bursaries, because they had not been properly guided to choose subjects and careers that suited their personalities.

“My goal is to see more kids, driven to study because they’re passionate about their chosen field of work.

“I am so excited. I wish something like this was available to me while I was at school,” said Ms Lentz.

* If you are interested in the project, call Alison on 082 20 20720 or 021 591 6610 or Carol at 078 986 6499.