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SOUTH AFRICA: Students prepare for digital world

Salesian Institute Youth Projects launches new efforts to teach digital literacy skills


(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Institute Youth Projects is working to address South Africa‘s persistent youth unemployment crisis. The organization recently announced in an article in the BizCommunity that it redeveloped an older computer lab into a Smart Work Center, which launched in February 2023.

The new center has been used by the institute’s “Learn to Live School of Skills” program that caters to youth, ages 14-18, who are no longer part of mainstream schooling. The four-year program provides basic education and vocational skills training. Salesians are supporting 215 learners who use the new Smart Work Center at least twice a week to improve their digital literacy and academic skills.

The teaching staff has integrated the Computers4Kids and Reading Eggs programs into their curriculum. These programs are increasing literacy for learners, especially those struggling to read and write. Through the new center, youth are also showing improvement in learning and their enthusiasm to work on the computers. The Salesian Institute’s NEETs Youth Employability Program is also offering an “NQF3 End User Computer” course for students, ensuring they are prepared in the digital world.

According to the article, the Rotary Club of Waterfront was able to develop a collaboration with the IT Academy based at Cape Peninsula University of Technology to bring on a senior student as part of an internship. By leveraging industry partners, the Salesian Institute Youth Projects is ensuring that the Smart Work Center provides youth with real-world exposure and access to employment opportunities.

“Our mission is to foster lifelong learning and cultivate a reservoir of skilled youth ready to contribute to the thriving Cape Town’s economy,” said Father Francois Dufour, CEO of the Salesian Institute Youth Projects, in the article. “A collaborative approach not only bridges the gap between education and industry but also instills a sense of confidence and self-belief in youth, empowering them to pursue meaningful careers and contribute to the country’s economic growth.”

Over its history, the Salesian Institute Youth Projects has been instrumental in changing the lives of hundreds of youth who would otherwise not have been able to access the job market. These youth had been homeless, unemployed and impoverished, but they had access to the education that helped them gain employment.

Committed to making a difference for those who need it the most, the institute’s skills development model focuses on providing opportunities for youth who may not have completed their mainstream schooling or access to skills training.

In addition to the “Learn to Live School of Skills” program there are three other educational programs. The “Waves of Change Maritime Program” is for youth or adults up to age 35 who want to work at sea in the fishing and maritime industry. The “Porsche Mechatronics Program” enables youth to work in the automotive sector, and the “NEETs Youth Employability Program” offers a national certificate in small venture creation for youth interested in entrepreneurship. Life skills training is also an integral part of the training programs.

Poverty is extensive in South Africa with more than half the population and more than 63% of children living below the poverty line, according to UNICEF. A significant percentage of the population struggles to survive on less than $1 a day. The country is plagued by high crime rates and violence against women and girls and has been the hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS crisis in the world. There is an urgent need for education to help prevent the spread of the deadly virus and to help lift youth out of poverty.



ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS) 

BizCommunity – Addressing the youth unemployment crisis in South Africa: A call to action

Salesian Institute Youth Projects

Salesian Institute Youth Projects Facebook

Salesian Missions – South Africa

UNICEF – South Africa

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