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.

Solution
Fighting unemployment in poverty-stricken areas
Organization
ATHENA Interactive Training Network (Pty) Ltd.
Country of Implementation
South Africa
Region
Africa
Subregion
Subsaharan Africa
First published
31.01.2014

In order to empower the rural youth with disabilities, ATHENA offers learnerships free of charge. 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.

165 Palanee Attachment DWCPD_ATHENA_Foto
Graduation of ATHENA students in Richards Bay after one year of workplace experience and classroom training.

Solution details

People

Susan DIPPENAAR
“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.

Problems Targeted

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

Media

Pictures

165 Palanee Attachment DWCPD_ATHENA_FotoGraduation of ATHENA students in Richards Bay after one year of workplace experience and classroom training.

Related information

Solutions with the same:

Country of Implementation

South Africa

Region of Implementation

Africa