The Durban University of Technology (DUT) student-led non-profit organisation (NPO), Bringer of Light to Young Souls (BLYS) recently hosted a careers day for Grade 12 learners in Jolivet, Ixopo. The BLYS teams consist of DUT students, Ms S’thabile Hlangu (Town and Regional Planning student), Ms Anele Chiliza (Electronic and Computer Engineering student) and Ms Nonhle Dlamini (Business Analysis student and SRC Project Officer).

The NPO started in 2022 after the group recognised a lack of career guidance outreach and exposure for high school learners in the rural areas of Jolivet and Hlokozi, located in Ixopo. “Jolivet is a rural area in Ixopo. It is very far from towns which have information about careers for the learners. Some of the learners don’t even have internet access to get information online. Therefore, we saw the need to bring the information to the learners,” states BLYS secretary, Ms Hlangu.

The project aims to provide Matric learners with career guidance, career exposure, information on tertiary scholarship and funding opportunities, and assistance with online applications. The BLYS also provides information to learners on what options are available to them if they do not attain the requirements to secure a spot at a university.

The career day took place on the 4th of March 2023 and was open to all high schools in the Jolivet area. “The purpose of our engagement activity was to have matric learners in the community interact with professionals from different career fields and universities so that they could talk to them and learn more about different career choices,” explains Hlangu. The event had a turnout of over 300 Grade 12 learners on the day.

The group cited funding as being one of their biggest challenges when putting the career day together but are grateful for the assistance of in-kind donations that they received from both the community members of the Jolivet and DUT Community Engagement. 

The team are also thankful for the DUT students that availed themselves on the day to present information on the various career opportunities that exist for the youth. The event also saw special appearances by Chief Ndabezitha Mkhize, who presented the opening prayer, and the wonderful singer Ms Hlengiwe Mhlaba.

Overall, the BLYS believe that the career day was a great victory for their team. “The learners were engaged during the event and wanted to know more. Their eagerness and joy at the end of the event proved that we had a successful day. It was a success despite the challenges that we faced. Given that this was our first career day which involved different schools we exceeded our expectations, and the learners gained a lot from the day,” states Hlangu.

The BLYS encourages other students and individuals, especially those from Ixopo, who would like to get involved in their programmes to reach out to them on their social media.

Speaking on their hopes for the project in the future, Ms Hlangu shares, “We would like for this project to grow and be available to other rural areas outside of Ixopo. We also hope to have organisations such as CAO, NSFAS, FUNDZA and other universities be a part of this project.”

Picture: The Bringer of Light to Young Souls team and student volunteers at their recent career day in Jolivet, Ixopo (Photo Credit: Ms S’thabile Hlangu)

Tracy Khuzwayo

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