The future well-being of the country depends on raising a generation of skilled, competent, and responsible adults. For Grade 11 and 12 learners this is the pivotal period between childhood and adulthood. It is the time when youth need to acquire the attitudes, competencies, values, and social skills that will carry them forward to successful adulthood. It is also the time when they need to avoid choices and behaviors that will limit their future potential.
“It is the very reason why we have decided to host this summit each year: to impart to these learners opportunities that await them once they complete their studies,” says Yende.
Peter Ndoro, News Anchor and Producer at the SABC and MC at the Summit, kept the enthusiasm going throughout the day. After taking a quick poll of which careers the learners wanted to go into (television presenting received a great response, followed by teaching, but everyone wants to be the President), he encouraged learners to take as much as they can from the Summit. “They keep saying ‘You are the future.”
You’ve heard this right? Well, actually I want to tell you, you are not the future. You are the now,” said Ndoro. He also encouraged learners to have an open mind about all the opportunities presented at the Summit.
Speakers and exhibitors from tertiary education and industry professionals were there to introduce the learners to careers such as nanotechnology, hydrogen fuel cell technology, manufacturing, fashion design, nature conservation and media.
Learners cheered loudly as renowned fashion designer David Tlale stepped onto the stage. His inspiring presentation started with a brief personal introduction to his struggles growing up in a single parent household.
“It’s possible to make it where you come from,” Tlale said. “Your background does not determine your destination, but the choices that you make as a young person determine where you go.” He did not mince words when addressing the learners about their studies: “Opportunity does not chase lazy people. Opportunity does not chase average or ordinary people. Opportunity chases excellent people.”
To support his message, in the presence of all the pupils there, Tlale addressed a learner who had spoken to him, and offered to design the surprised learner’s matric farewell suit. This was greeted by uproarious applause from the audience and heartfelt thanks from the lucky learner. It was not the only giveaway at the event: matric students entered their names into a draw to win a Diploma in travel and tourism, worth R 36 900, from Avatir Academy. This 16-week course opens doors in the tourism industry through internship and networking opportunities.
The young audience were also pleasantly surprised by the arrival of celebrity Tips “Shampoonizer”. Learners could scarcely keep to their seats as he entered the room and stepped off the stage to join them in the crowd with his message: “You guys are the future.” The mood remained festive long after he left the hall.
FP&M SETA (Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training) hosted the Summit for the first time this year. “It was a huge success,” says Yende. “It is important that learners know what careers are available to them. This is something that some members of the previous generation never had. These learners walk away with life changing opportunities and exposure to endless possibilities. We look forward to seeing these learners grow and thrive as they embark on their career journeys.”