JA Opportunities Out There Programme focusing on STEM2D reaches another milestone!
Junior Achievement (JA) South Africa continues to partner with Standard Bank Tutuwa Foundation and Siyafunda Community Technology Centres in implementing the JA Opportunities Out There Programme Focusing on STEM2D. In its fifth year, the programme will see over 120 grade 11 learners across three schools in the Free State, Gauteng and Mpumalanga build on their Entrepreneurship skillset, adding Project Management, Lego Robotics and preparing for the world of work in STEM2D.
Up to 50% of the programme participants are learners who joined the programme while in Grade 7 in 2018 where they learned about the various careers in STEM2D, they were introduced to coding and also explored the types of businesses they could start. The following year, in Grade 8, learners continued from the previous years’ experience and learned social innovation and advanced coding. They came up with socially innovative business ideas and made prototypes incorporating lessons learned. In 2020 the same cohort then in Grade 9 completed the JA’s Be Entrepreneurial programme, which focuses on fundamentals of entrepreneurship, and JA’s Success Skills programme, introducing them to world of work. Last year while in grade 10, learners pulled together the lessons from prior years and set up companies through the Digital Enterprise Programme incorporating a Design Thinking session coordinated in partnership with JA Ohio, as well as the Python Programme facilitated by Siyafunda Community Technology Centres. Learners also participated in the JA Company of the Year Competition and attended the African leadership Academy Model African Union Conference.
This year, in May, learners from all three schools participated in the Marsh McLennan Companies Global Innovation Challenge. The Challenge included learners aged 14–18 years competing across JA regions in North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific. Learner teams generated strategies to reduce carbon emissions and pollution by helping people change consumption behaviour in their communities. Strategies were presented in a 3–5-minute video. We continue to celebrate these bright sparks and are super proud of the team from Free State who received second prize in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region for their “Throw in garbage ATM” solution.
“It is really refreshing to watch learners who we started off with in grade 8 evolve and embrace STEM2D focused learning experiences through this programme. We are grateful to Standard Bank Tutuwa Community Foundation for this invaluable investment – inspiring young people in underserved communities to believe that “It Can Be”- says Bonga Khumalo, Junior Achievement South Africa’s Acting National Programme Manager.