Partnerships play a pivotal role in addressing two of South Africa’s biggest challenges – the cost of studying and the debt that students have hanging over them. When companies and organisations join hands, we can make education affordable and accessible for more students.
“We have been supporting students since 2017 to make their educational dreams come true. Collaborating with organisations who share our values and our passion has always been a big part of how we achieve this goal,” says Cara-Jean Petersen, CEO of Feenix, a non-profit organisation that specialises in social impact, innovation, and making tertiary education affordable and accessible.
One such collaborative partnership was announced this week, she adds.
“We are very excited to announce that we have partnered with the Council for the Built Environment (CBE) for the “Build a Dream” giving campaign. The campaign is about intentionally investing in students who financially need support to continue their studies and enter the field of the built environment.”
The initiative with the CBE will drive investment in and the transformation of a profession that builds the physical infrastructure we all make use of every day.
Anyone can get involved to help make a difference.
Visit https://feenix.org/campaign/96 to see students in the built environment who need financial assistance today. Feenix has vetted and selected students in this field who will be featured in the campaign.
Petersen says that the numbers provided by the CBE show that too many students in this field end up not graduating or completing their studies.
“Of the 60 000 students who are studying to become professionals in the built environment, only 12 000 continue to graduate.” The dropout, says the CBE, is not only due to financial exclusion, but also because of struggles with mental health, not having access to all the resources they needed, and being lost to competitor industries.
“When we speak to the students who are registered on our platform, they tell us the same story. Students are struggling with much more than just access to finances and they need all-around support to help them obtain their degree and reach upward mobility in life,” says Petersen.
“Like any other profession in the country, the built environment sector is facing serious challenges such as the slow pace of transformation, ageing personnel, shortage of critical skills, funding gaps and high unemployment rates, especially amongst our youth.
“It is therefore important for the sector to take strides and develop strategies on how best to address crucial issues identified in the skills pipeline strategy for the built environment, especially gender representation, youth development, participation, and retention,” says Dr Msizi Myeza, CEO of the CBE.
“The “Build a Dream” giving campaign is one of the initiatives that CBE is driving towards transformation of the sector. We encourage youth to take advantage of this opportunity offered by CBE and Feenix. I challenge all stakeholders in the built environment and the country to join hands and support this campaign to make this vision a reality”, says Myeza.
“The built environment profession is without a doubt critical to the future of our physical world, our streets, our businesses, our open spaces, and parks. I encourage everyone to join and invest in our future and make an impact by funding these students,” says Petersen.