In 2006, the Etafeni Trust reviewing its previous year, could see that they were succeeding in some ways but they realised with a shock that they had failed to do anything to support young school leavers. These young people were adrift – and vulnerable to many destructive behaviours.
Soon after this, Etafeni was invited to a presentation of a successful Indian youth programme. Alphonse Xavier SJ, returning to India, was struck by the numbers of unemployed young people in his home town, Chennai. He called all the big employers together and asked them what skills they were looking for in a prospective employee. No they said, we don’t want specific skills. Those we can teach. We want young people who are presentable (clean, tidy, professional looking), who come to work a little before time and leave a little after time who get on with their colleagues and managers, who internalise the ethos of their company or government department – and who work hard. That was Alphonse Xavier’s aha moment.
He started a course in ‘life skills’, helping to build self awareness and confidence, to identify values, to articulate dreams and goals – long term and short term goals. He helped young people understand what would help them get in to the world of work – and do well there.
If you are a school leaver with a matric certificate, this is what Fit for Life, Fit for Work offers you.
Values: the dignity of each person and the dignity of work.