Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is a key component in many of the qualifications SACAP offers. It’s an invaluable opportunity to apply the knowledge students have learned in class in a ‘real world’ environment.
This kind of supervised practical experience gives students significant insight into their chosen field. What’s more, it helps boost their confidence before they enter the workplace.
Being on the student side of things, we’re very aware of how popular our WIL modules are with our learners. We wonder, though, what people at our partner placement sites think of SACAP students. So, we asked them.
Here, Kristina Miller, founder of Great Girls Trust, weighs in.
“Great Girls is a non-profit project started by a diverse group of women who volunteer their time and expertise, Kristina explains. “We are passionate about effecting change for currently disadvantaged girls in Grades 11 and 12.”
Kristina is the founder and a trustee on the board of the organisation. “I also work at Anglo American as Principal in the Sustainable Development Strategic Project team,” she says.
Great Girls has two locations in Cape Town – one in Lavender Hill and one in Belhar. Its goal? To empower, educate and upskill girls so they leave high school equipped with the ability to find meaningful, gainful employment.
Participants are encouraged to carve out their own paths to career success through workshops and mentoring, says Kristina. Themes range from interview techniques, CV writing and budgeting, to eloquence, confidence building and assertiveness.
SACAP’s partnership with Great Girls began in 2022. “We were nominated by a SACAP student who was a mentor volunteer with our programme,” explains Kristina. “SACAP reached out to us to initiate the relationship. It has been a wonderful partnership for which we are deeply grateful.”
Three SACAP students have interned at Great Girls so far. “They have provided counselling for our beneficiaries, our mentors and programme co-ordinators,” Kristina says. “Additionally, they have helped us review our documentation and resource materials, as well as host in-person workshops. They even helped us launch a podcast!”
“For years we had identified a need for mental health support for our beneficiaries, particularly after lockdown,” Kristina says. “Through counselling and mental health workshops facilitated by SACAP students we’ve been able to support them in a very holistic way. It’s wonderful to ensure that all parts of their personal development are being attended to.”
“Equally,” she adds, “Mentoring can be difficult. Being able to support our mentors in this way makes for improved guidance and relationships across the board.”
Kristina is confident the Great Girls partnership with SACAP will continue. “It’s fantastic to be able to support our beneficiaries and mentors and ensure that the mental health work we are doing as part of our programme is sufficiently informed and supported by trained professionals,” she says. “It’s also completely amazing to be able to receive counselling for free in this country. Something our girls need but do not have access to outside of SACAP!”
“Women are consistently underemployed and underpaid,” Kristina asserts. “Youth unemployment and female headed household statistics in South Africa highlight how young women are in dire need of support. To move into employment and be able to support themselves and their families, they need help.”
Unquestionably SACAP’s partnership with Great Girls is having a positive impact. “It has enriched our offering to our beneficiaries,” says Kristina. “It means we can fill a much-needed gap. We can provide the safe space and support our girls and mentors so desperately need in some cases.”
“SACAP students are fantastic at what they do and are supported by supervisors and teams that ensure their work is delivered well,” Kristina says. “Working with them has been a complete pleasure – every project we have worked on together has been easy and resulted in amazing outcomes.”
A collaborative example is the Great Girls podcast SACAP students – Taygan Wyngaard and Lanna Lamberts – contributed towards. “We had been throwing the idea around for a while,” Kristina explains. “With SACAP on board it was clear we had the right resources and insights to be able to deliver in a way that showcased Great Girls, but also provided tools outside of the strictly NGO space.”
“Lanna and Taygan were integral to the development of the content, themes and scripts,” she continues. “Consequently, the podcast led to us hosting a mental health women’s breakfast in October last year. It was a huge success, and we plan to continue hosting it annually.”
“SACAP students changed how we operate at Great Girls for the better,” Kristina adds. “We are forever grateful to them and to SACAP for the opportunity to work on new projects like these at Great Girls.”
Practical experience is the hallmark of SACAP curricula. Its WIL offering includes supervised practical placements within organisational settings just like the Great Girls project.
The benefits of WIL are boundless. SACAP students enjoy hands-on experience while they study. Congruently, placement sites are assisted by the knowledge, training and broad perspectives SACAP students bring to the partnership.