EQUIPPING STUDENTS FOR 21ST CENTURY LEARNING
Danielle Josephs, from the West Coast town of Langebaan, received a scholarship in 2018 which has allowed her to follow her dream of becoming a teacher. Now in her third year, studying towards a B Ed: Senior phase & FET Teaching Degree at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, she is attending a workshop in Johannesburg, with fellow scholarship recipients, to prepare for the next stage of her career.
Fourteen scholarship recipients from Umoya Energy Wind Farm, Cookhouse Wind Farm and REISA Solar Farm are spending their winter term holiday attending programmes that are designed to equip students with necessary skills required for them to be successful students and to address real-life problems in a collaborative way and prepare for the so-called 21st century learning.
“The gap between leaving school, successfully completing a degree and entering the workspace is enormous and can sometimes be overwhelming, especially for youth coming from small towns and rural areas,” explained Veronique Isaacs, Regional Community Operations Manager for Umoya Energy Wind Farm.
There are different programmes for the various academic years, dealing with fundamental skills needed for success in studies and life. In addition to this, the workshop is tailored to fill skills gaps for different faculties of studies, such as a first-year programme for Engineering and Science students that deals with Threshold Concepts in Maths, Science and Technology.
Danielle Josephs expressed the value of the workshop, specifically the impact of learning to work in groups, “Communicating and collaborating with people with different personalities and backgrounds is invaluable, as well as feeling more empowered and comfortable to express myself in a public space”.
The programme for final year, Honours and post-graduate students is devoted to the two main requirements of work readiness – emotional intelligence and thinking agility.
“For many young people, being awarded a scholarship is often the only option available for after-school education. However, we like to support our learners with more than just financial assistance as it is often life skills and emotional integration that lead to unnecessary stress and dropouts,” added Isaacs.
The overall focus of all programmes is on preparation for the 21st century learning, namely Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity (Innovation). For these reasons the workshop’s main programme is interspersed with shorter workshops on Life, Learning, Innovation and Thinking Strategies that incorporates experts and practitioners to share their wisdom.
The workshops are run by Study Trust, an educational Trust that helps young people to access tertiary education, acquire professional skills and gain employment. Their programmes complement students’ technical and academic skills, preparing them for meaningful employment and to become active contributors to the economy.
The Umoya Energy, Cookhouse Wind Farm and REISA Solar Farm Scholarship Programmes were launched four years ago to provide tertiary education funding for youth. The focus is to contribute towards human resource development in fields considered critical for the South African economy.