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Whetting appetites for environmental science

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Tshililo Ramaswiela (left) tells learners more about careers in the environmental sciences

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Omphile Khutsoane is surrounded by learners during an interactive discussion

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"Yes, you can become scientists too." Omphile (left) inspires girl learners to investigate the wide range of careers available in science.

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The learners left with happy faces, as they could see a bright future beckoning ...

By Omphile Khutsoane, Intern, SAEON Arid Lands Node

 

This time of year is crucial for Grade 12 learners across the country. While the term’s exam pressure mounts, they face another crucial challenge - choosing the right careers.

Luck was on the side of some 3 000 Grade 12 learners from the John Taolo Gaetsewe district of the Kathu area in the Northern Cape Province. They were given the opportunity to participate in the "Innovative Days" career expo at Kathu High School in May 2014.

As luck would have it, learners from the Frances Baard district around Kimberley got a similar opportunity a week later. These events provided platforms for learners and teachers to meet a range of people working in various fields and learn more about career choices.

Interactive presentations and discussions

The SAEON Arid Lands Node played a pivotal role in this year’s initiatives, by assisting learners in obtaining information on natural science to aid them in their selection of a suitable career. The interactive presentations and discussions at the SAEON stall where I worked with Tshililo Ramaswiela, a field technician at the node, attracted large numbers of learners.

We provided detailed background information about the organisation and careers within SAEON, the National Research Foundation and the science fraternity in general. Learners were encouraged to pursue careers as scientists and researchers by studying at higher education institutions.

Team effort

SAEON was part of a larger team effort that included exhibitors from various organisations, who combined their efforts in applying different models for career choices for learners majoring in maths and science. These exhibitors ranged from scientists, miners, doctors and accountants to soldiers.

The application of this programme demonstrated the importance of coming together as different organisations in a unified effort to improve the future of South Africa through assisting the leaders of tomorrow to find appropriate career paths.

I was touched by the look on the learners’ faces as they left the SAEON presentation inspired and motivated, and I realised that the encounter has had a marked positive impact on their lives and their future career choices.

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