June 14, 2024

South Africa, a land of vast potential and vibrant cultures, faces a significant challenge of high levels of unemployment, particularly among its youth. Barriers to entry into the labour market have long stymied opportunities for young people.

Paving Pathways with Purpose

SANSA is not just about exploring space and Earth; it’s also about empowering the nation’s future leaders. Through an array of innovative youth development programmes, SANSA is equipping unemployed youth with the necessary skills, qualifications, and experience they need to thrive in the space sector. By actively supporting and participating in government initiatives, SANSA is making significant strides in reducing youth unemployment and fostering a brighter future for South Africa.

Transformative Learning and Development Programmes

SANSA’s commitment to youth empowerment is exemplified by its diverse range of learning and development programmes. These initiatives include:

  • Internships: Both hosted and SANSA-funded, providing real-world experience and professional growth.
  • In-Service Training: Hands-on training to enhance practical skills.
  • Vocational Work and Job Shadowing: Offering insights into various careers and industries.
  • Volunteering: Open for youth to volunteer in their fields of interest.
  • Apprenticeships: Building a foundation of experience and trade expertise.
  • Bursaries: Financial support to ensure access to education and training.

To date, SANSA boasts a dynamic team of 219 employees, with 30% being vibrant, ambitious youth. Among them, 51 have secured permanent positions, while 19 are currently gaining invaluable experience as interns, in-service trainees, and volunteers. Additionally, 61 students under the age of 35 benefit from SANSA’s bursary programme, paving the way for a skilled and educated workforce.

Engaging Minds and Sparking Interest

This June, SANSA’s science engagement team has been on a mission to ignite a passion for space-related knowledge among South African youth. Highlights of their exciting endeavours include:

  • National Earth Observation and Space Secretariat (NEOSS) Community of Practice (CoP) Training and Workshop: Held at the CSIR ICC from June 4-6, 2024, this event brought together early career professionals and youth from across the nation. Partnering with AROSE Technologies and Mphotho Community Development Center, SANSA ensured a rich blend of knowledge and networking opportunities.
  • University of Pretoria’s BlueCraneSpace Engagement: Strongly connected with the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), this youth-driven initiative is set to host American astronaut Dr. Sian Proctor on July 30, 2024, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young space enthusiasts.

Reaching Out and Spreading the Word

Science Engagement Manager, Dan Matsapola, took to the airwaves on Motsweding FM on June 10, 2024, discussing space, satellites, and exciting opportunities for the youth. This was just one of many efforts to spread awareness and ignite curiosity.

While celebrating the National Research Foundation’s 25th anniversary on June 13, 2024, at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens, SANSA engaged with youth under the theme “Science for Society Youth Month Engagement,” showcasing the transformative power of science and technology.

Preparing for National Science Week

In the lead-up to National Science Week 2024, scheduled for July 29 to August 2, 2024, SANSA is in full preparation mode. With events planned across all nine provinces, the aim is to inspire and educate as many young minds as possible before schools close for term 2.

The NYDA will also bring South African youth to SANSA Space Operations on June 20 and 27, 2024, offering an up-close experience with space science and technology.

A Future Unbound

As schools close on June 14, 2024, and reopen on July 9, 2024, SANSA remains steadfast in its mission to empower the youth. By breaking down barriers and providing invaluable opportunities, SANSA is not just addressing unemployment; it’s building a future where every young South African can reach for the stars.

SANSA will host a holiday programme at the SANSA Hermanus Science Centre for learners aged 6–8 on 27 June and for learners aged 9–12 on 28 June. To secure your child’s spot, send an email to nmoloi@sansa.org.za

Keep updated on all space news by following SANSA on Facebook, X, Instagram, LinkedIn and Youtube and check out www.sansa.org.za for more information on opportunities to connect with SANSA.

Categories: News