Grachin’s story is part of our 2020 publication, Shift, where we join the dots between research, policies and young people’s experiences for an Action Plan that can help South Africa shift gears on youth unemployment.
Community Works Programmes (CWP) can have an immense impact for us as young people, while also benefitting communities in which we work. But to be government, NGOs and SETAs need to work together to make sure that we can bank this experience, providing us certified training and access to real career pathways.
“My name is Grachin Sanders. I’m 22-years-old, and live in Prince Alfred in the Western Cape. I was employed through the Community Works Programme (CWP) as an Educare teacher, working with children in the foundational phases of their education. CWP is a government-run initiative aimed at creating opportunities for youth, like me, who are actively looking for work. As CWP employees, we receive a small stipend for two days of work per week. I am one of over 200,000 people across the country who benefits from the programme each year.
CWP describes itself as a ‘bridging programme’, which means that it hopes to link employees like me to future opportunities, and helps us build a career pathway. During my time with CWP, I received training as a librarian, learnt to work in a team, gained confidence in social interactions and developed expertise in childcare and early education.
It’s been two years since I joined CWP. I now have a job in the school library, and work as a facilitator for a reading programme called Zoe Reading Project.
I’m usually an introvert, but my job has helped me connect more with people and the kids in my class. I’m less quiet at work than I am at home. I’ve learnt to come out of my comfort zone.”
If more young people could unlock public opportunities like Grachin did, then more young people could benefit from work experience with skills that matter.
Find out more about our call to action to ensure that Public Employment CAN Work.