The enke: Catalyst Program – a New Way for Youth NEETs

Catalyst – A New Way of Working with Youth Not In Education Employment or Training (NEETs)

Until 2015, our primary work was located in the formal education system – filling the gap of a lack of training in non-cognitive / “soft” skills that left youth ill-equipped to identify and access opportunities post-school. Through the enke: Trailblazer and enke: Ignition Programs, we have worked with high school and post-secondary youth to lead social change in their communities through individual capacity building, training, and support for youth-led social innovation and social impact. As we were developing our long term strategy, we realized that this gap existed for youth outside of formal education settings.

Over 7 million youth in South Africa are classified as not in employment, education or training (NEETs). Youth NEETs are not as able to improve their future employability because they are out the system and do not have the access to skills or gain experience through employment or further education. We applied our research, experience, ethos and asset-based approach to this problem and enke: Catalyst was born.

Through enke: Catalyst, we are working to contribute to reducing the numbers of youth who are NEET by bringing them into a space that allows them to rediscover and develop themselves personally and professionally, enable them to determine the targeted life outcomes they want, and actively work towards achieving those outcomes.

Program Objectives:

  • Break the cycle of hopelessness by working with post-school, unemployed youth to rebuild their self-belief and resilience through training, practical experience and inspiration.
  • Inspire and support a bias toward entrepreneurial thinking and innovation by helping young people develop the skills, networks and desire to identify and access opportunity.
  • Help youth place themselves into employment, education or enterprise

Early Results from Catalyst Pilot

These early results are encouraging – demonstrating that this is indeed a viable approach to supporting youth to self-determine, define, achieve their goals and successfully enter into employment, education, enterprise or training.

We have set a strong base for further development and expansion of the Catalyst Program to reach more young people in South Africa. We look forward to growing the Program and sharing our learning to contribute to the greater ecosystem of the youth development sector.


Read more about our lessons and results from the pilot of the enke: Catalyst Program – enke Catalyst Innovation Showcase Booklet (Update-email)

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