managed by P. Sibbons (Communication)
South Africa faces a crisis of youth unemployment relating to the legacy of apartheid education. Maths has only been a compulsory subject for 2 years, and this has an impact on the ability of South African youth to compete in global markets as innovators, in technology, and in entrepreneurship. Students from government schools remain disadvantaged and thousands leave school without sufficient skills or access to bursaries for further study. The Huddleston Centre operates a youth leadership and training programme, providing skills and employment in a number of sectors, including tourism and heritage. 200 youth a year access our accredited IT and life skills courses. Our Youth Leadership programme aims to help young people to “Create the future, Today". It combines subject such as numeracy and business communications with IT, as well as 'soft skills' such as time management, financial awareness (eg managing credit, opening a bank account), and personal care. We have a 65% success rate of youth accessing work or bursaries for further study within three months of completing our programmes, which offer 14 week courses and advanced leadership development for up to 12 months. We focus on youth aged 18-24 based on evidence that the longer youth are out of work or training, the longer they will be unemployed. Work experience and mentorship (online) are key aspects of our programme, and we aim to create an individual 'Gateway' for each young person on our programmes, so that their next steps are in relation to their and their families needs and expectations. Our dedicated team support each learner, identifying strengths and opportunities of each person to build a credible career path and network of associates who can assist them on their journey. Using cultural processes such as the performing arts, skills and confidence are built to develop the full potential of youth, some of whom may never have travelled outside their township. Encounters with others who are from different backgrounds breaks down perceptions and fears, and creates points of connection enabling a stronger socialisation to occur. Travel to Europe and other parts of Africa as well as welcoming visitors is part of the encounter opportunities presented by the Sophiatown story and a legacy of cultural leadership from the likes of Hugh Masekela, Abdullah Ibrahim, Dorothy Masuku, Fikile Bam and Desmond Tutu - all of whom spent formative years in Sophiatown, prior to the removals under apartheid.