The Trailblazer Programme: Skills development and social entrepreneurship for youth in South Africa

The Trailblazer Programme: Skills development and social entrepreneurship for youth in South Africa


Project Description

Many young people in South Africa leave the formal education system not having been adequately equipped with the skills and capacity to engage with socio-economic activities, nor the ability / inclination to be active and engaged citizens that can positively shape their own future and that of their communities. The result is a large number of youth not in employment, education or training (NEET) which in turn leads to greater ills and risks for South Africa.

Our intervention promotes active citizenship, social entrepreneurship and innovation through accessible training and support for youth in school (The Trailblazer Programme) and post-school (The Ignition Programme). The project aims to:

  1. Mobilise and engage young people to take action on issues that affect their lives: provide youth 15-25 years old with training, inspiration and support to identify and act on socio-economic issues within their contexts, thereby practicing active citizenship.
  1. Increase the chances of success of young people in the labour market: accomplished by increasing the non-cognitive and essential life skills of youth, which research shows contributes to increasing the likelihood of success beyond school by enabling youth to identify and access post-school opportunities.

The overall desired impact of the project is for young people to be active citizens that have the skills and capacity to engage with socio-economic activities and have a sense of self-worth, purpose, awareness and social responsibility, which will enable them to actively contribute to more inclusive and sustainable growth.

The project action involves the implementation of two interventions for youth from the Free State, Limpopo, and Northern Cape provinces:

  • The enke: Trailblazer Programme: a 6- or 9-month social action programme for Grade 10-11 high school learners (ages 15-19 years old).  The Programme inspires, trains and supports high school learners by building leadership capabilities and non-cognitive skills through a week-long ‘camp’ (enke: Forum) combined with support as they implement their own self-designed and run social impact projects that are implemented in their communities over the programme period.  Enke provides coaching, mentorship and technical support during the project incubation process.
  • The enke: Ignition Programme: a volunteer programme for tertiary students and recent graduates (18-25 years old), where they are trained in youth facilitation, coaching and project management skills, that they go on to apply as part of the support of the Trailblazer Programme and trainers at the enke: Forum. During that week they are responsible for the learning and discipline of high school youth entering the Trailblazer Programme. They become role models and support growth of the Trailblazers in all aspects, often continuing on after Forum.
  • Youth in both the Trailblazer and Ignition Programmes will experience Operation HOPE SA’s Banking on Our Future programme to build their financial literacy.

This is a collaborative effort of two South African youth development organisations - enke: Make Your Mark and Operation HOPE South Africa. 

Benefitting zone
South Africa


  • Total cost (€)

    528 642.56

    EU contracted amount

    360 000.00

    Partner contribution

    168 642.56EUR


    December 2016 - December 2019

    Implementing organisation


    Funding instrument

    DCI - Non State Actors and Local Authorities in development