SA: Initiative assists unemployed youth

The School of Hard Knocks (SOHK) in the Western Cape has taken the initiative to contribute to addressing South Africa’s youth unemployment challenge by providing courses that assist youth to enter the job market.

SOHK runs two programmes, one focused on school going learners, and one for young people trying to secure their first formal job.

The school offers eight-week short courses that build life and employability skills such as goal setting, anger and fear management, CV-writing and interview preparation through rugby.

This structure comes together with the ultimate aim of enabling participants to find employment and realise their potential.

“We currently work with 160 school children in Cape Town CBD’s low fee government schools, and in July we begin an eight-week programme with 20 youth in Gugulethu in partnership with Ikamva Youth and sponsored by Cloudsmiths. Our goal for 2020 is to include new schools and reach hundreds of youth through five short courses delivered once again with the award-winning Ikamva Youth,” SOHK Director Scott Sloan said in a statement.

SOHK Head Coach Lionel Farao said the school uses rugby because mastering something physically challenging is an amazing tool.

“Not only does it help with self-esteem, it also alters the brain chemistry to adapt to and adopt new behaviours. High impact, high intensity experiences have the potential to make lasting change and in addition it allows our youth to show job acquiring behaviours such as displaying discipline and reliability,” Farao said.

Launched earlier this year, SOHK is part of an international not for profit network that uses rugby to tackle issues around unemployment, antisocial behaviour, poverty and crime.

For school children, the school uses an in-depth intervention for those who are at risk of exclusion from mainstream education by offering weekly rugby coaching and mentoring.

This is aimed at developing learners’ inner resources, so that they can grow in their ability to self-assess, manage their emotions, and make better choices when it comes to education, risky behaviour and their career paths. Support is offered for up to three years to improve behaviour, attendance and attainment.