Photo Credit: Supplied

As part of Youth Month, Action Volunteers Africa (AVA) travelled with their ‘mobile career café’ to Wellington – where they offered a one-stop shop to assist youth with job-readiness services – in Mbekweni.


Mbekweni, South Africa (26 June 2023) – According to data released by Statistics South Africa in Q4 2022, youth unemployment remains alarmingly high at around 43.4%. Further, there are 3.4 million youth aged between 15 and 24 in NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). Youth in underserved communities (townships, informal settlements, semi-rural and rural areas) cannot access proper career guidance and job readiness services to increase their employability and ultimately impact their economic freedom. It is so important to keep hope alive in the 30% of youth who have never been in formal employment. In addition, 48% don’t complete their schooling. With unemployment in early adulthood strongly linked to chronic unemployment, the need for early intervention is paramount. That is why AVA focuses primarily on this demographic.

The Mobile Career Café (MCC)

Approximately 60 young people, 16-28 years, attended the mobile career café sessions that focused on being resourceful in looking for opportunities in their area; career development and management; learning interview skills and compiling a CV. The youth also completed an online career profiler test that reflects the career options that best match their interest and skills. The youth find the career profiler test in particularly insightful, as reflected by one participant from Mosaic, “I learned a new career path that I didn’t know about – Human Resources. I never considered that as a career option”.

Mosaic, Mbekweni Youth Centre, NorSA – local non-profit organisations – and the Department of Social Development partnered to make the events a success. Somila from the Desmond Mpilo Tutu high school in Mbekweni, reflected that she “learnt there are many things we can do (to gain work experience) and that can open doors, like volunteering”. For another learner from Desmond Mpilo Tutu high school, Sithenkosi, the major takeaway from the MCC was “knowing the difference between a job and a career, and how to build a career. I also learnt about soft and hard skills and how to draft a professional CV”.

“The workshops were very informative and helpful, making things clear and giving different perspective on values, career and jobs”, said Pumza Jamakela, community development practitioner at Thusong service centre. Heidi Hartzenberg from Mosaic Community Developments echoed the sentiments on the value of the workshops, stating it “was amazing and the youngsters really learnt a lot and enjoyed it”.

Impact of the work-readiness workshops on Mbekweni Youth

A baseline and end questionnaire is completed and the stats reflect the significant shifts in knowledge, attitudes and skills experienced by the young participants who completed the various MCC workshops:

  • 84% now knows what will make them employable, compared to only 31% before the MCC workshops;
  • 80% are now more confident they know what to do and say in a job interview, compared to 28% at the start; and
  • 76% said they now know how a career develops, compared to 28% at the start.

Future plans for the Mobile Career Cafe

AVA plans to visit more towns and under-served areas in the Western Cape with their Mobile Career Café (MCC). Organisations and companies keen to know more and possibly have the MCC visit their area can contact AVA on

Sources: Supplied
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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