Skip to content
subheading divider

Bridging Year Academy

Good Work Foundation’s Bridging Year Academy programme is a year-long course with seven streams that aim to “bridge the gap” between what young people may have learnt in high school and what they need to know in the 21st-century workplace, at university or college, or as aspiring entrepreneurs.

Bridging Year Academy

Programme Stats

Bridgingyearacademy featured computer 2x
Icons staff 01 white 2x

Number of Staff


Icons infographic 08 active white 2x

Number of Students


subheading divider

Core programme attributes

Good Work Foundation’s Bridging Year Academy (BYA) provides school leavers and young adults with the opportunity to enhance their skills to become work-ready or better navigate life as a tertiary education student.

The streams in this 12-month-long programme include:

  • English (including the Bite-Size English programme)

  • Employability

  • Digital/ICDL (the International Certificate of Digital Literacy)

  • Online Learning

  • Digital Footprint

  • Career Pathing

  • Ready to Work

The BYA programme has evolved over the years into this holistic offering that is grounded in applied learning with these seven core streams as well as BYA Plus (BYA+) – where our students put their core learning into practice. In this BYA+ offering, students:

  • Spend time in reading circles, where they read out loud together from interesting books written by South African authors

  • Enjoy tablet time, where they use tablets or computers for additional time to practise the skills they’ve learned during class or work on assignments

  • Practise mindfulness and yoga and play word games, riddles and board games, helping them bond as a group, relax and have fun together

The need for such a bridging programme is vast in South Africa: Good Work Foundation operates digital learning campuses in rural Mpumalanga and the Free State, where youth unemployment is at astronomical levels.

With many schools ill-equipped to cater for the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – not just technology skills but also creativity and problem solving – GWF is stepping in to bridge the gap between school and what lies beyond. In the BYA, young adults gain the skills, self-drive and motivation to take their next steps in life with confidence and purpose.

Students are on campus for three hours each day, and are asked to contribute a R700 commitment fee. They graduate between late November and early December. We aim for at least 70% of BYA students to go into a job or an internship, start their own business or explore a further study opportunity within 12 months of graduating.

subheading divider

Seven streams of curriculum

  • English
    Bite-Size English is an online learning programme for second-language adults who want to improve their everyday English. Learning takes place in your own time, at your own pace. Online access is possible through multiple devices via a reliable internet connection. Bite-Size is a re-imagined approach to language learning, with a strong focus on application and problem-solving.
  • Employability
    Focuses on understanding and integrating 12 categories of skills (with over 60 individual skills included) to better help manage a student’s career. Categories include: attitude, service, creativity, money barriers, values, technology, branding, work, goal-setting, networking and business transitions.
  • Digital
    Students complete the International Certificate of Digital Literacy (ICDL). The ICDL is the world’s leading computer skills certification, and is an end-user computer certification preparing our Bridging Academy students to step into the workplace.
  • Online Learning
    Students learn how to harness the power of the internet and the skills they have acquired, by connecting with online studies in a field they are interested in. This module inspires them with a love for life-long learning.
  • Digital Footprint
    Students learn to use technology to connect to the global world in a wise, accountable and credible fashion. They learn to create safe and effective profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn, and learn about what to do and what not to do in the world of social media to ensure they have a healthy digital footprint, attractive to future employers.
  • Career Pathing
    Students go on a journey of self-discovery, learning about their personality, values, skills and interests, which will help you choose a career and not just a job.
  • Ready to Work
    As young people set out to find employment or create self-employment they need skills that will help them to transition from the world of education into the world of work. Absa ReadytoWork is an education and skill development initiative designed to help young people go from learning to earning. Four core training courses are available: Work Skills to get students work ready. People Skills to find ways of working together and understanding people's emotions. Money Skills to help students manage your money. Entrepreneurial Skills if you dream of running your own business
Programme Details:
Curriculum: English, Employability, Digital, Online Learning, Digital Footprint, Career Pathing, Ready to Work
Programme Managers: Kathy Knott, Ntsako Mandlazi
subheading divider


  • “Investec is a proud supporter of the Good Work Foundation digital learning campus model. I have seen first-hand how this innovative South African team is reimagining education so that more young Africans are part of a digital future.”
    — Fani Titi, CEO of Investec
  • “Absa is one of the long-standing donors supporting the vision and mission of the Good Work Foundation. Our support continues because of the great and sustainable impact we see them realise in the communities they work in.”
    — Sazini Mojapelo, former managing executive for corporate citizenship at Absa Group
  • “We have been so blessed to have been founding partners of the Good Work Foundation’s story, from its 1997 dreams to its vision, creation and humble beginnings in 2012 to now.”
    — Dave Varty, co-founder and owner of Londolozi Game Reserve
subheading divider

Bridging Year Academy Managers

subheading divider

Kathy Knott

Bridging Year Academy Programme Manager

How would you describe your personal brand?

I love helping people to find their path in life. My personal brand is about exploration and appreciation – of both the self and the world.

What are your goals and aspirations?

My goal is to be part of the solution for South Africa, helping young women and men to find a sense of purpose and meaningful work. I strive to embrace lifelong learning, and have both a curiosity for everything and a growth mindset.

What do you consider to be your most impressive achievements?

I am so privileged to be part of the team that has grown the Bridging Year Academy into the holistic programme it is today. I hope and trust that it will continue to go from strength to strength and spread like a beautiful, pink web across our country.

What's one quirky or fun fact about you?

I have my best ideas first thing in the morning, after a good night’s sleep. Often they wake me up!

Bridging Year Academy
subheading divider

Ntsako Mandlazi

Bridging Year Academy Manager

How would you describe your personal brand?

Everyone deserves a chance at education, regardless of their age and location. I work on pouring everything I have into what I do, so that when I leave this Earth, I leave fulfilled.

What are your goals and aspirations?

I work towards creating opportunities for people who want to learn, growing myself academically with relevant skills needed to succeed in the 21st century, so that I can always be of service to those who need help.

What do you consider to be your most impressive achievements?

Being the campus manager of Huntington Campus, leading the team and achieving excellent results. I was able to build and maintain good relationships with the schools and community at large. I mentored and led people who later assumed more senior roles. In my current role, I am able to identify gaps and communicate them for better delivery of the programme.

What's one quirky or fun fact about you?

I can’t dance or sing to save my life, so I always avoid activities that involve either.

Bridging Year Academy
  • Londolozi
  • Sabi Sands Pfunanani Trust
  • More Community Trust
  • Inyati Private Game Reserve
  • ABSA
  • esiDulini Community Trust
  • Singita
  • Leopard Hills Private Game Lodge
  • Sabi Sabi
subheading divider

Bridging Year Academy Gallery

Go to: View all
53106827353 49112dc4d1 k
Low Res GWF Shoot February 2019 A Ritchie 2020
Low Res GWF Shoot February 2019 A Ritchie 2048
Low Res GWF Shoot February 2019 A Ritchie 2147
Low Res GWF Shoot February 2019 A Ritchie 2129
Low Res GWF Shoot February 2019 A Ritchie 2136

Subscribe to our newsletter