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GWF and Absa: working together to forge a new generation of workers and entrepreneurs

Dr Reaan Immelman of Absa
Dr Reaan Immelman of Absa says GWF is helping to ease unemployment in South Africa.

One of Good Work Foundation’s longest-standing partners is Absa, which supports our Bridging Year Academy (BYA) – one of our core learning programmes and a key foundation of our education model.

Absa has collaborated with Good Work Foundation for several years to support the BYA. This adult skills development programme runs on all six of GWF’s digital learning campuses and helps young people in rural communities “bridge the gap” between what they may have learnt in school and what they need to know in the 21st-century workplace, at university or college, or as aspiring entrepreneurs.

Dr Reaan Immelman, head of education delivery at Absa, says, “The GWF model contributes to alleviating the unemployment crisis in South Africa through its community-powered and locally managed digital learning campuses. The Hazyview campus even has its own start-up social enterprise, VillageUp, employing graduates from rural villages with a view to recycling the profits back into reimagining education.”

In response to the changing needs of South Africa’s employment landscape and labour market, the BYA curriculum has been constantly refined and developed to ensure it remains a holistic, dynamic programme that offers skills relevant to the country’s youth.

To date, more than 3 000 young adults have graduated from the BYA, armed with the digital, work-readiness and life skills they need to enter the workforce or campus with confidence. Many have gone on to gain meaningful employment and forge successful careers – tangible proof that this partnership is bearing fruit.

Bridging Year Academy students and staff '24
Bridging Year Academy students and staff at our Dumphries Digital Learning Campus.

Dr Immelman says the highlight of the partnership to date has been the spirit of co-creation that Absa and GWF have fostered to ensure the evolution of the BYA offering.

“Over the years, GWF has incorporated the Absa Ready to Work curriculum into its Bridging Year Academy programme. Every year, Absa also teaches students about financial literacy.

“I love working with GWF because they provide school-leavers and young adults with the opportunity to enhance their skills to become work-ready, better navigate life as tertiary education students or become entrepreneurs. They are truly reimagining education in rural South Africa.”

Huntington Digital Learning Campus '24
GWF’s beautiful Huntington Digital Learning Campus, which houses both a Bridging Year Academy and an Open Learning Academy.

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