ATHENA is a mobile Further Education and Training (FET) College which provides free 'learnerships' to persons with disabilities in poverty-stricken rural areas. Young people with disabilities gain initial work experience while studying towards a nationally recognised qualification.
- Fighting unemployment in poverty-stricken areas
- ATHENA Interactive Training Network (Pty) Ltd.
- Country of Implementation
- South Africa
- Subsaharan Africa
- First published
“ATHENA – the mobile private FET college, taking quality education, training and development to the people, both rural and urban.” Susan DIPPENAAR
In order to empower the rural youth with disabilities to overcome unemployment, ATHENA offers learnerships free of charge. The learners and their families do not have to pay any extra cost for travel and accommodation as is the case when they attend a campus far from home. Each learner is placed in a host workplace close to their home and allocated a permanent employee as coach and mentor. Each successful learner graduates with a national qualification and a full year of relevant workplace experience. ATHENA sources the workplaces, mentors and coaches in close proximity to the family home of the learners. Learning is conducted in English, but assistance can be provided in the mother tongue during the first 3 months. ATHENA facilitates the acquisition of assistive devices where necessary.
South African business and government institutions are still not fully compliant with the requirement to have a minimum of 2 percent of total payroll be persons with disabilities. Especially in rural and poverty-stricken areas this leads to an extremely high rate of unemployment among young persons with disabilities.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Mobile college for rural further education and training