Gap-years are often associated with thoughts of fun and travel, but USB-ED’s
Young Minds Entrepreneurship Programme offers a career-focussed alternative. The popular offering, formerly known as the Gap-year in Entrepreneurship and Management, presents more than a year of wasting time says De Wet Schoeman, Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at USB-ED. “The new name provides a more accurate description of what the programme offers: to help young people develop dynamic mind-sets that prepare them to successfully manage their personal and professional lives.”
The programme is aimed at matriculants who want to prepare for successful careers, those who have terminated their studies and feel unsure about the future, and those who have graduated and want to create their own opportunities or move into corporate business.
Former participant Maigon Archer says that although she would recommend the programme, she wouldn’t call it a ‘gap-year’. “It’s so much more than a gap-year programme. You actually use your time, skills and knowledge to gain from the whole experience and to improve yourself and move forward. I am very grateful for the experience.”
Each programme participant is taken through a constructive personal journey that focuses on personal mastery, and subject areas such as marketing, operational and human resources, basic management skills and financial management. They are given the opportunity to experience the corporate world first hand and to decide for themselves which route they would like to pursue.
According to Schoeman, participants are also given the opportunity to discover their talents, strengths and weaknesses, improve their decision-making skills and develop their emotional intelligence to better deal with others. "The programme develops their entrepreneurial mind-sets, which doesn’t necessarily mean starting their own businesses, but being able to recognise opportunities or creating their own.”
This is true says Tihan de Wet, a software developer who started his own business after completing the programme. “My business is already sustaining itself. The personal mastery aspect really stands out to me and helped me to develop into a more focused, mature and disciplined person.”
According to Bronwen Seager, the programme set her on the right course for her future and gave her the business skills she needs if she ever want to start her own business.
Schoeman believes the demand for programmes such as this one will increase as the environment in which young people have to establish themselves in becomes more dynamic and competitive. Former participant, Nompendulo Caba, says the programme helped her to develop her independence and individuality. “It made my first year (at University) less chaotic and I was already familiar with what was expected of me.”
Young Minds Entrepreneurship Programme
is offered over 10-months and presented in two phases. The next opportunity will start in February 2016 in Stellenbosch. Successful participants will receive a Certificate of Competence in Entrepreneurship and Management from Stellenbosch University (SU).
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