Karen Rademeyer

Go for Gold Tuition (RF) NPC

What does your company do?

Go for Gold is a South African non-profit organization dedicated to empowering disadvantaged youth through a comprehensive education-to-employment program. Founded in 1999, we provide academic support, leadership training, and practical work experience to help students excel in STEM fields. Our four-phase program includes:1. Education Development Programme: Weekly Maths and Science tuition for Grade 11 and 12 students, along with leadership and life skills training. Two holiday programmes a year which entail taking our students to visit technical sites underway by our construction or manufacturing partner companies eg. bridge building, quantity surveying, road laying, architecture offices, etc. Each year we have 100 to 130 Grade 11 and 12 students in EDP in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Each year, Grade 12s are interviewed by HRs from our partner companies for the Workplace Learning Internship Programme, the second phase.2. Workplace Learning Internship Programme: One-year internships for newly matriculated students to gain practical experience before pursuing higher education. Students intern at Go for Gold partner companies a year after Grade 12, prior to tertiary studies, to discover where their passions lie for technical professions and decide on their course of study for phase 3, the Higher Education phase.3. Higher Education Phase: Ongoing support for students through university or technical college. Go for Gold facilitate bursary support for 170 students currently at various tertiary institutions in Cape Town and Johannesburg.4. Alumni and Employment Phase: Assistance with job placements in partner companies and mentoring younger Go for Gold mentees in EDP, WLI and HE.By addressing educational inequity and fostering career readiness, we aim to break the cycle of poverty and contribute to socio-economic development in South Africa. We address the shortage of technical graduates, particularly people of colour in technical industries such as various engineering fields. The students' journey on our skills development programme supports youth from high school until they graduate and join the South African technical sectors. Students are supported academically, emotionally and financially until they graduate and can uplift themselves out of poverty. Our programme also addresses the inclusion of females in typically male dominated technical industries.

What is your biggest success?

2024 – Effective Fundraising – With 8 years of service so far, grown Go for Gold’s funding mechanisms locally and internationally, accruing up to R11 million in reserves, ensuring Go for Gold’s sustainability for the next 3 years. Responsible for growing Go for Gold’s corporate partner companies that support hundreds of youth on the Go for Gold education-to-employment programme every year. 2023 - Fundraising in Germany - I was invited by 5 German Rotary Clubs in Marburg, Nuremberg and Munich in Germany, and Salzburg in Austria to present how funding secured had been utilised. The trip was so inspirational that it resulted in a further R1.6 million being raised in Germany, with three volunteers continuing to raise money on the organisation's behalf. 2019 – Black Business Quarterly (BBQ) Award Winner - nominated and won the Nedbank Group Limited Individual Transformation in Leadership Award at the 2019 BBQ (Black Business Quarterly) Awards held at Emperor’s Palace on 15 March 2019. I was recognised then for my 17 years of service transforming the lives of young black South Africans. 2017 – African Union – All expenses paid and was invited to represent the Go for Gold programme for “best practise” in skills development at the African Union conference called “Africa Talks Jobs” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The conference was organised by NEPAD and fifty-five African states, and the European Union attended. The conference was around the problematic disconnecting between career choices, skills development and high dropout rates or fail rates at universities around the continent and I presented Go for Gold’s model as the solution. 2009 – Mark Shuttleworth Innovation Awards Winner – Awarded prize for the Armani Computer Typer that aided bridging the digital divide in underserved communities.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Greatest hurdle is attracting and retaining donors, standing out amidst competition, and dealing with economic fluctuations. The funding pool is targeted by over 255,745 registered NPO's in South Africa every year. Additionally, economic downturns in South Africa affect companies' ability to support the next generation of leaders for their industries, making it even more difficult to secure necessary funding. Overcoming these challenges requires me to have a strategic plan, effective communication, and innovative approaches to inspire and maintain donor support.