The Bridging Year academic programme for 2009 consists of intensive tutoring in the following subjects: English First Additional Language, Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Accounting, and Geography. The tutors include SAEP staff, contract tutors, and local and international volunteers.
Non-Curriculum Courses and Activities
Career Skills focuses on CV and cover letter writing, personal development goals and interview skills. At the beginning of the Bridging Year Programme, students are taught basic study skills to prepare them for the programme. Students take personality and self-assessment tests (such as Myers Briggs among others) to create an awareness of how their personalities influence their career choice. SAEP assists with preparing tertiary applications, choosing fields of study for tertiary study and bursary applications.
Community service is an important ethic of SAEP and its Bridging Year Programme. Interns are given the freedom to select an area or programme where they can focus their community service activities. Past examples have included: early childcare (three girls helped at township crèches that SAEP works with); others helped with afterschool tutoring programmes (namely Hope Scholars and Matric Success); others have worked as office administration interns; two ran a Xhosa class to volunteers; another taught marimba through SAEP's Arts Outreach Programme and others have facilitated and coordinated outdoor excursions. Bridging Year Interns evaluate their own progress and are monitored by a mentor. The aim of the course is to develop professionalism, public spiritedness and work readiness.
Job shadowing provides Interns the opportunity to spend time on the job with local professionals. SAEP approaches these community members so that Brodging Year Interns can ask professionals about their jobs and explore possible careers. Interns shadow many different professionals to gain a broader perspective of possible vocations so as to compare and contrast different careers options.
Counseling provides a way for Interns to discuss their lives and problems in a safe and supportive environment. Interns meet with a trained counselor in both individual and group settings throughout the year.
"Touchstones" discussions provide Interns with the opportunity to discuss big ideas and current events in small group discussions. Topics include everything from Enlightenment philosophy to current news stories. These discussions allow Interns to develop critical thinking skills, formulate arguments, practice their English and gain confidence in speaking.
Computer Skills trains Interns in Microsoft Office (Word, Powerpoint, Excel, etc), Paint, Web navigation and research and other programmes. Most students have little or no computer skills to begin with. SAEP teaches Interns computer skills to prepare them for tertiary education and improve their employability.
Employability is a course created for SAEP by Sophia Lewis from the UK aimed at developing an understanding of how to become more employable within an increasingly competitive market. Interns develop confidence and a belief in their own abilities. They learn how to identify their own strengths and areas in need of improvement and how to formulate a personal action plan. Through practical scenarios such as mock interviews and drawing up their own CVs, they learn how to independently apply for jobs and market their skills. This inspiring and activity-packed course also improves verbal and written communication skills.
Entrepreneurship is a course that has been designed to teach students about the possibilities of entrepreneurship in solving social, environmental, and financial issues. The course has been teaching the Bridging Year students how to identify needs in the community, innovate to find solutions to those needs and successfully market and sell the solution. Students have learned about possible sources of financing, markets, marketing strategies, business expansion and ethics, as well as how to innovate and devise ideas that lead to entrepreneurial ventures. Additionally, students have learned skills that can be applied within the course as well as outside of it, such as Powerpoint, Excel, interview skills and presentation skills, with the hopes of demonstrating how entrepreneurship can be related to all fields. The culminating project is a business plan that the students will write and present for a social entrepreneurship venture that they conceived and could put into practice if they chose to.