Partnering for future possibilities

Posted on 14 August 2018

A South African programme focusing on the education of children has earned it a prestigious international award thanks to the hard work and success already achieved. Partners for Possibility (PfP), the flagship programme of Symphonia for South Africa (SSA), was one of six winners in the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) awards, which recognises and promotes innovative projects across the world that aim to address challenges in education. SSA is an NPO and PBO based in Bellville, Cape Town with a bold vision of education for all South African children by 2025.

Mediclinic has chosen to partner with this programme by supporting a school in Cloetesville, situated close to the Corporate Office in Stellenbosch. According to the programme founder, Dr Louise van Rhyn, PfP aims to improve the quality of education by capacitating principals at under-resourced schools and building their leadership skills through partnerships with business leaders.

Cloetesville High School principal, Dorian Meyer, is working together with the Mediclinic Southern Africa Business Partner, Deon Myburgh, to identify where and how the company can support the high school.

Participants in the programme go through a 12-month leadership development programme while tackling the challenges their schools face, together with their business partners. Practical elements such as access to technology, security fencing around the premises as well as adequate facilities are all being addressed – with additional sponsors sought for key areas.

In addition, it has been highlighted that less than 5% of the matric students at the school go on to study further. Greg van Wyk, Chief Human Resources Officer emphasises the role business can play, “Mediclinic is an employer of choice, and we have seven training centres across the country – we truly believe that we need to develop the next generation of workers for the country. It is our responsibility to inspire the youth of today, showing them the possibilities that they may never have been exposed to.”

As part of a campaign to educate learners on the career possibilities open to them, staff members from Mediclinic visited the school over a two day period to interact with students and parents – highlighting the different careers and what the educational requirements are for these careers.

Dr Van Rhyn said that to date the PfP initiative has aided 1 630 principals and business leaders, while 625 000 pupils have also benefited, “To be recognised as the winner of the 2018 WISE Awards is a very special achievement.”

“With many of our staff members living in this community, we feel that we can have a strong, positive impact on these high school students – with luck some of these learners will enter our doors as employees later on in life,” says Greg van Wyk.

Mediclinic has a long-term strategy to use education to transform communities within which the company operates. Over the last five years, more than 4 000 students have been enrolled at the seven training centres for a number of nursing courses as well as the recently introduced emergency medicine diploma. According to Greg van Wyk, “It is not enough to highlight the lack of employment opportunities or the shortage of skilled workers in our industry, Mediclinic is targeting their training centres as a source of future business leaders.”

Greg believes that the private business sector can play a significant role in uplifting and supporting education in South Africa and sees the PfP programme as an ideal platform to get involved and make a difference in education and to the learners who are the future of our country. “Although this is a 12-month formal engagement, we foresee that this will become a long-term relationship,” he concludes.

Published in Business