YDT and Nokia expand Make a Connection to North-West and Limpopo Provinces


Johannesburg -

26 11 02

The Youth Development Trust, Nokia and the RF Group start the third year of their Make a Connection graduate training program in Gauteng and expand the program into North-West and Limpopo.

75 unemployed graduates have been selected to participate in a three-month life skills course aimed at empowering them socially while preparing them for the world of work. Hundreds of applications for the program were received from all three provinces.

Make a Connection, a global initiative of the International Youth Foundation and Nokia, has been running training programs in South Africa since October 2000, with 155 previously unemployed college graduates in Gauteng completing the course so far. Now the program is expanding into areas where, according to Ntutule Tshenye, Chief Executive Officer of YDT, it is desperately needed.

“Limpopo and North-West Provinces are economically depressed," says Tshenye. "Unemployment figures, especially among inexperienced youth, are reaching crisis levels. It was a natural progression of Make a Connection in South Africa to respond to the need here."

The 75 graduates will develop life skills and receive training in Information and Communication Technology as well as Entrepreneurship. Life Skills cover the soft skills that are imperative for success in the workplace and in life generally, but are often not included in university and technikon curricula. Life skills modules include confidence building, conflict resolution, time management and job interview preparation.

Entrepreneurship has become increasingly critical. With youth unemployment on the rise there are clearly not enough jobs for the thousands of graduates that South African tertiary institutions produce annually. More and more people need to consider the option of self-employment. In the program, graduates are encouraged to actively pursue starting their own businesses. They are given
the necessary training on business and marketing plans, feasibility studies, accounting and bookkeeping training and how to apply for financing.

Michael Myers, CEO of RF Group, says: “We are involved with Make a Connection for the second year now and are committed to the program's ongoing roll-out and success. We would like to invite other organisations in South Africa to support this initiative. By educating young people we can help them gain confidence and recognise their own self worth. We also assist them to become self-sustainable and help put them in a position where they can contribute to the economic growth of our country.”

About Make a Connection
Make a Connection is a global, multi-year partnership between the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and Nokia to promote positive youth development by giving young people an opportunity to “make a connection” to
their communities, to their families and peers, and to themselves. The program improves young people’s educational opportunities, teaches them life skills and helps them to make a positive contribution to their
societies. Country programs are currently running in Brazil, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Poland, the Philippines, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. More information on Make a Connection can be found at www.makeaconnection.org

About YDT
The Youth Development Trust (YDT) is one of the leading organizations in the provision of solutions to the youth sector in South Africa. YDT’s mission is to act as a facilitative and responsive resource-mobilizing and technical support organization for the positive development of youth. YDT focuses on strengthening the delivery capacity of youth organizations, providing grant management services for the donor community for projects in support of youth, piloting and implementing new technologies to address youth development gaps. Through the Nokia-sponsored Make A Connection life-skills development program, YDT has made a meaningful contribution to the development of employability of graduates in the country, while at the same time encouraging entrepreneurship.
More information about YDT can be found at www.ydt.co.za

About International Youth Foundation
The International Youth Foundation (IYF) is one of the world’s largest public foundations focused on children and youth. IYF is dedicated to supporting programs that improve the conditions and prospects for young
people where they live, learn, work, and play. Since its founding in 1990, IYF has worked with hundreds of companies, foundations, and non-governmental organizations to scale up existing programs and build long-term strategic partnerships. Currently operating in nearly 50 countries and territories, IYF and its partners have helped more than 23 million young people gain the skills, training and opportunities critical to their success. More information on IYF can be found at www.iyfnet.org

About Nokia
Nokia is committed to having a positive impact on society that extends beyond the advanced technology, products and services the company creates. Through its partnership with IYF and other regional philanthropic and social responsibility programs, the company prepares young people to embrace opportunities and possibilities created by the global economy and new technological advancements. The company has been an active regional contributor to youth and education causes for many years, with Nokia employees making their own contributions as volunteers in a range of programs throughout the world. More information on Nokia can be found at www.nokia.com


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