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Young South Africans frame their future

Young South Africans aspire to do work that is both meaningful and fulfilling, according to the Frame Your Future survey recently conducted by Sacap (The South African College of Applied Psychology). The online survey canvassed 850 internet-connected respondents aged between 17 and 20 years who are recent school leavers or currently in Grades 11 and 12 to gauge their hopes and fears about the future.
Young South Africans frame their future

65% of the learners on the last leg of school aim to enter tertiary studies once they have matriculated, with only 7% looking to enter the workforce immediately and just 5% considering a gap year. Amongst the students surveyed, 57% said that researching their study options online was the dominant source of the information that they used to decide on their study path.

“What was striking in the Frame Your Future results was this generation’s desire to ensure they care about the work they’re involved in and most importantly that their work makes a difference to the world,” says Dr Lauren Martin, the deputy dean of Learning & Teaching at Sacap. “Over half of the respondents said that they want to do work that they really care about and that makes a difference. 40% have ambitions to do ‘something extraordinary with my work’ and 38% think that they will love their work. These sentiments were ranked far more highly than money as the be all and end all of work. These results highlight how important it is for school leavers to integrate their passions and interests with their skills and capabilities when they are making choices about tertiary study paths. Unsurprisingly, study options that are practical and applied-based equip school leavers to integrate their passions in their studies, enabling them to do something extraordinary with their work.”

Given the current state of the world and overall anxiety about the fast-changing future of work, these young South Africans indicated a generally positive outlook at this life stage with 43% saying they wake up feeling hopeful, and an additional 14% who are excited to face the day. While almost half the respondents are open to future international work opportunities on a temporary basis, only 19% say that they would seriously consider emigrating from South Africa.

Martin says: “What we are seeing is a significant proportion of young people who think they have a contribution to make to their country with 58% concerned about climate change impacts and 55% believing in the responsibility to vote. The latter is an indication of increased willingness to participate in voting amongst the youth, as according to a report on the 2021 local government election, only 10% of 18 to 19 years olds and less than 20% of 20 to 35 year olds were registered to vote. There are also high levels of awareness of the systemic issues that plague South Africa such as crime, poverty, and the ailing economy, as well as mindfulness when it comes to their health and particularly, their mental health. These attributes align to the ways that Sacap has shaped our accredited educational programmes to match the hopes and dreams of Generation Z.”

Sacap offers a range of registered and accredited courses ranging from higher certificates, a diploma and undergraduate degrees to postgraduate qualifications and specialised programmes at its Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Pretoria, and online campuses. Applied Psychology forms the core of each course and topic areas include psychology, communication, business management, human resource management, social work, and coaching.

Blending robust academics and practical skills, Sacap offers small classes, work integrated learning (WIL), close educator contact and mentorship to develop confident, work-ready graduates who are well-equipped to make transformational impacts in South African workplaces and communities.

Martin concludes: “We are encouraged that there are many young South Africans who value personal growth and who face their concerns about the country and the world they are living in with the question: How can I make a difference? What they need as they step onto study paths that will lead them into the world of work is to develop resilience in facing fears and challenges, while they are well-supported in gaining the knowledge and skills that will enable them to be positive forces in their future workplaces.”

Applications are still open to study at Sacap from February 2023. Please visit to register.

9 Feb 2023 13:59