On Saturday the 6th of February 2016, IkamvaYouth hosted its first alumni meetup for the year in Cape Town. The aim was to get the alumni to meet one another especially since they attended different IkamvaYouth branches in high school, across different years, but may currently study at the same tertiary institutions and live in the same areas. Another goal was to get them thinking and talking about the various post-school opportunities available to them and plan for the year ahead. Thabisile Seme, the Alumni Coordinator, facilitated the session and ensured that it was informative and fun!

The alumni shared what they are currently doing (be it work or study) and what their plans are for the year. Leànne from Mintor joined the meetup and gave the alumni an in-depth explanation of how the platform works. Mintor is a platform that allows students to build skills and credibility ,broaden their work experience and earn some money in the process. By completing a profile on their site, students avail themselves to businesses looking for skilled candidates . Leànne founded the platform when she realised that one of the pressing issues in the country is the difficulty that exists around finding employment after studying, partly due to lack of experience. Mintor seeks to connect students to what she calls “Micro-internships” which is part-time work a student can do from the day they start studying. Such opportunities may also help students come to realisations about their field of study earlier giving them the chance to gain certain skills or change their career path. Mintor also caters for graduate job-seekers and students looking to complete learnerships and in-service training. Leanne emphasised that the best way to improve your credibility is by “demonstrating your interests alongside what you study” instead of waiting for an opportunity. You can learn more about mintor here.

For the first activity, everyone was given a sheet of paper with different statements like “Matriculated before 2010”, the goal was to match a statement to an individual and get them to sign for it. Individuals weren’t allowed to sign for more than 2 statements per sheet. It was a really fun way for everyone to learn some quick facts about one another.

For the second activity, alumni were asked to form a straight line in order of when they joined IkamvaYouth, the twist was that no speaking or writing was allowed! As they moved around mutely,occasionally giggling, everybody quickly found a way to communicate their position in the line.

At the heart of the day’s activities was having everyone paired up and sharing their “IkamvaYouth story”. We heard from Thobela Bixa who was part of the first cohort of matrics to go through IkamvaYouth; he went on to pursue studies in chemistry and earned a Masters in Chemistry. He currently works as an analyst in the Finance sector and is pursuing his new passion: Business. As everybody shared each other’s stories, it became clear that there are different ways that they can help each other in their studies and careers from sharing books to guiding someone in their job-seeking or letting them know of new opportunities in the workplace.

The last activity reinforced the concept of how everyone is connected; it involved everyone throwing around a reel of string (without impaling anyone) and saying what they are looking forward to this year. The common thread was that everyone wanted to learn more this year and equip themselves to create even better lives. In the end, the string had formed a web which connected everyone and Thabisile demonstrated that a tug at one end of the web could be felt by everyone. She encouraged the alumni to support one another through the programme, reminding us all that: “whatever you do in your life, you have an impact on other people and if we consciously want to make an impact, that impact becomes a lot bigger…”

We’re looking forward to seeing the alumni again on the 5th of March at the Get that job! workshop. You can see the event details here.