In South Africa, barely one in seven children get an education that qualifies them for university. Of those who do qualify, just over half will graduate. And even those fortunate few are rarely prepared to enter the workforce and meet employer expectations.
We are working to make sure young people from disadvantaged backgrounds not only gain access to university, but that they graduate and are prepared to launch successful careers. And so, we created Dell Young Leaders. The program has been running successfully for 10 years, and currently accepts an additional 120 South African university students from disadvantaged communities pursuing a professional degree each year. Our program goals are as ambitious as the students we support: we want to make sure at least 80 percent of students in the program graduate, and that 100 percent of our graduates secure jobs in their field of study.
We provide a bursary of R 150,000, available over the course of the degree as well as a laptop, printing credits and financial support for textbooks and basic necessities. We also have an on-campus liaison that provides ongoing support to Dell Young Leaders dealing with psycho-social, academic, housing or financial challenges that may prevent our students from successfully completing university. The Dell Young Leaders program team also makes use of a “Scholar Risk Indicator” which sends an alert when students require help so the team can act quickly to deliver the right solution at the right time. In addition, we host seminars and workshops on important topics that students need to know, tied to where they are in their university journey.
We have also invested in developing deep partnerships with top-tier corporates, government organizations and nonprofits to ensure that students in the program get access to work opportunities while still at university, and that graduates successfully enter into careers that are aligned to their own personal goals.
Graduates of the Dell Young Leaders Program are the next generation of skilled professionals; eager to exceed employers’ expectations and to help build a better future for all South Africans. For more information about the Dell Young Leaders Program, please visit www.dellyoungleaders.org.