The 25th edition of the Working World Exhibition – South Africa’s most comprehensive careers fair – was held from February 20-22, 2024.  The next edition will take place early 2025.

Annually the event attracts more than 10 000 visitors – Gr 11 and 12 learners, unemployed youth, parents and teachers in Nelson Mandela Bay –  a hotspot for youth unemployment and poverty in South Africa.

 It also produces world class career guidance material that is distributed to Gr 12 learners free.

The event attracting up to 100 educational, government and business entities, is fully endorsed and advocated by the Eastern Cape Department of Education, with partner support provided by Coega Development Corporation, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Kingfisher FM and Magnetic Storm. The initiative also enjoys support from the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.

The Working World Careers Initiative is firmly entrenched as the authoritative educational/careers initiative as demonstrated by the commitment of the quadruple helix.  A special engagement of leading stakeholders from business, academia and government was hosted during the 2024 expo with acclaimed Professor Jonathan Jansen. 

The exhibition, says Inkanyezi Events CEO Andrew Binning, provides learners, teachers, parents and unemployed youth with the widest range of free career resources. 

The bulk of the exhibitors represent study or training options. These include Rhodes University, UNISA, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of the Free State, Tshwane University of Technology, International Hotel School, Capsicum Culinary Studio, Total Concept Beauty Academy, EDUVOS, Varsity College, Boston City Campus, E-Squared Educational Enterprises, Academy for Environmental Leadership SA, UXI Sport, Eastcape Midlands TVET College, AFDA: School of the Creative Economy; CTU Training Solutions, MHR Business and IT College, Industries Education, Code Girls and Training Institute and Warriors Academy.

Participating industry associations include the South African Institute for Professional Accountants, The Physiotherapy Society of South Africa, The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Clinical Engineering Association of South Africa, The Production Technologies Association of South Africa and The South African International Maritime Institute.

Among the exhibitors are six government departments, including the Department of Health and Department of labour. The Department of Labour will set up a mobile office at the expo to guide unemployed youth into employment opportunities, while eight Sectoral Education Training Autthorities (SETAs) will share with visitors available skills programs and learnerships across several industry sectors.

Corporate participation includes Woodlands Dairy, Kwantu Private Game Reserve, The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Association, PwC, EY, ABSA, Road Accident Fund, SANRAL, Standard Bank, Vodacom and Coega, DigitSA, Placerapp, SA Weather Service, SA Police Services and SA Navy among others.

Most of the scientific agencies in South Africa supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) exhibit to guide and inspire learners into the wide and exciting world of the sciences. These include the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (NRF SAASTA), SA Environmental Observation Network, South African Astronomical Observatory, iThemba LABS, South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, The Research Innovation Support and Advancement (RISA), SA Institute of Aquatic Biodiversity and CSIR as well as University of South Africa – College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

It is the vision of the WWE to connect the quadruple helix (govt, academia, business and civic society) around tangibly reducing youth unemployment by providing school-leavers and youth with information and world-class resources that equip them to enter the world of work.  We believe we are successful as a collective in doing that. Education and skills aligned with jobs is one of our country’s greatest priorities as unemployment  has deep tentacles in poverty, crime, labour unrest, government social burden, unsustainable free services like electricity, reduced taxes, social discontent and investment attractiveness. The scourge of youth unemployment has been described as a ticking time bomb. Adressing it, rallies a range of leading corporate and educational institutions to this initiative.

Inkanyezi Events CEO Andrew Binning, who founded this community initiative in 1999 and subsequently formed partnerships in its delivery, including the Department of Education and organised business, says the Working World Initiative is all about addressing youth unemployment.

The Working World Careers Expo annually for the past 25 years has reached more than 350 000 learners, unemployed youth and teachers directly at its multi-day extravaganza, which centres on the Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape. Exponentially more have benefitted from the resources produced through the initiative, like a Career Guidance textbook, created, printed and distributed free, thanks to partnerships.

Binning says the expo’s focus is on providing learners with resources and exposing them to options around study and career choices that leads to employment.

Pupils of attending schools also received a ‘comprehensive’ Career Guidance Guide or textbook and access to a screened DVD on future careers.

“Over 20 years we and our partners have directly interacted with several hundred thousands of school-leavers, received an award from the president’s office for contribution to job creation and from the visitor feedback we receive, have made a serious contribution to one of our country’s most challenging issues.”

Access to the annual expo and all of its resources is free to learners, parents, teachers, unemployed youth and all interested visitors.   

For more information about the Working World Expo view