Placing young people in meaningful employment close to where they live – that's the crux of our partnership with Investec, one of our wonderful donors that help make the Good Work Foundation magic happen. We're shining the spotlight on them as an integral component in our Ecosystem of Learning and Working.
Margaret Cerff – in charge of youth and enterprise development programmes at Investec
Investec is a long-standing GWF partner, and one of its areas of involvement is through the public-private Youth Employment Service (YES) programme, which has placed thousands of young people in one-year work experience programmes since 2018.
Its sustainability division also assists with rhino conservation through GWF’s Open Learning Academy programme.
“Investec believes in living in society, not off society – so it’s very important for us to give back to the communities in which we operate, and it’s important that our suppliers and partners share similar values to ours,” says Margaret.
While it’s noble to provide job opportunities for a year, what happens to the young people afterwards? “It’s vital to ensure their absorption into the workforce after that, to create economically active participants who contribute to society and their communities. GWF is perfectly aligned with that, as they are invested in ensuring young people have further education opportunities and are employed,” she says.
She says Investec partners with GWF in sponsoring learnerships for students, with the aim of finding partners in high-absorption sectors of the economy, such as hospitality, conservation and tourism. The aim is to find interns high-quality permanent jobs or equip them to start their own businesses.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to get out into the workplace, show your best and grab the chance with both hands. There are so many stories of interns who have gone on to do amazing things just by being given that one small opportunity.
"We try to keep people where they live, with their families, and build up communities and businesses – to create ecosystems in those communities. It’s about funding for meaningful impact, with a focus on development and education.”
"When you go and visit places like [Good Work Foundation] campuses, you have hope. There’s really positive stuff going on."
She and her team periodically make the trek from Johannesburg to visit GWF campuses in Mpumalanga. “I just love it,” says Margaret. “I love the tree. I love going to the Hazyview campus and everyone is happy and smiling and excited to learn. It’s just a wonderful place and GWF is a wonderful partner, and we thoroughly enjoy working with them.
“I wish more South Africans knew about these things that are going on quietly under the radar because you sometimes feel very despondent, but when you go and visit places like that, you have hope. There’s really positive stuff going on – so many real feel-good stories.”