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Our unique approach

City Year South Africa has developed an innovative four-phased model to help young people transition from service to the workplace.

ServeToWork Model


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Phase One

Onboarding & Training
2 months

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Phase Two


6 months

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Phase Three

Amathuba internships
2 months

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Phase Four

Graduation & placement


Phase One: Onboarding & Training

2 months: Starting the self-development journey. Forming a team. Learning the culture of the organisation.

Group of City Year service leaders in red jackets sitting in a circle in training

When you start your service training journey, you will learn how we apply the culture of idealism in the work that we do. Our formal training phase has three key focus areas during the two-month period:

  • Self and community: We will explore themes such as self-reflection, goal setting, working in teams, and social justice
  • Work Readiness: Throughout this focus area, we will work closely with you on career goal setting, developing Individual development plans, cv writing, interview tips, and internship coaching
  • Service readiness: In order to prepare you for service, we will cover working with children, basic first aid, designing activities to work with children, planning and implementing projects

You will start your journey as a service leader with the Basic Training Academy (known as BTA) for 4 weeks. BTA is your introduction to the program, the culture and standards and various topics including goal setting, team building and social justice. During the four weeks, you will spend time focusing on learning more about yourself, your leadership style, your goals and start your Individual Development Plan.

The next four weeks of training is focused on service readiness to prepare you to be able to coordinate and structure service activities in schools and organisations. Some of the topics covered include: hosting effective meetings, creating daily and weekly schedules, reporting, data capturing, working with children, and stages of development for children.

At the end of the three-month training programme, you will understand the importance of the work we do in communities and your role. To signify the end of the formal training phase and your readiness to serve, we host the Red Jacket Dedication Ceremony, where you will dedicate your City Year Red Jacket to someone or a cause dear to your heart and you receive your City Year Red Jacket to begin your service journey.

Phase Two: Service-learning

6 months: Serving full-time in schools or service sites

Female service leader greeting a classroom of children in an Ubuntu shirt

Once you receive your City Year Red Jacket, it is time to for you to meet your service partner and begin a journey of collaborative partnership and excellent service. You will be placed at a service site with a team of service leaders. Your role is to address the needs that the service partner has identified and together design activities and a schedule to address those needs as a team. Our purpose as City Year is to make things better.

During the six-month period you’ll be serving for 5 days a week at your service site. The activities may differ from site to site. Your supervisor will give feedback to you and your team during site visits.

You will also work together as a team, planning and implementing campaigns to raise awareness on social issues in the country like the “Child Protection Week” Campaigns in May each year.

The 6 months service learning experience is an opportunity for you to do real work, solve various challenges and learn how to present yourself professionally in a working environment. You will also learn how to work with people and manage projects in communities. These skills will help to prepare you for your career goals, and provide opportunities to learn time management, teamwork, how to focus on deliverables and problem-solving — all key skills needed to succeed in the world of work!

Click HERE for more information.


Phase Three: Amathuba Internships

2 months: Transition from service to the workplace.

Group of service leaders in professional dress at an Amathuba internship

After you complete your six-month service-learning work experience, you will have gained hours of experience learning how to excel in the world of work. While many young South Africans struggle to gain access to opportunities due to a lack of network or resources to apply for opportunities, we leverage our network partners to give you formal work experience in a new environment for two months. This is an opportunity for you to test or apply all the skills you learned during your service-learning experience.

We call this phase the Amathuba “Opportunities” Internship. The focus of this phase is a short internship for you to gain feedback on your performance in real work situations. The Amathuba programme gives you an opportunity to expand your network while learning new skills. It is important that you use this opportunity to advance your career plans. At the end of the two-month internship, your host site will provide feedback about your performance during the internship. Remember, it is important that you make the best of this opportunity, work hard, go the extra mile and do your best!

Please note that the internship is not a guarantee for a job opportunity.


Phase Four: Graduation & Placement

Graduation ceremony: Graduation and placement are the beginning of the next chapter in your journey. You will officially join our network of alumni.

City Year service leaders onstage at graduation holding awards

After you have completed each phase of the programme and met all the requirements and standards, you will officially qualify to graduate. You will receive a signed certificate from City Year confirming your hours of service in the programme as well as reference letter. You will also receive certificates for any additional training you may have completed during your year of service. During the graduation ceremony, we present the awards for service leaders that demonstrated the City Year South Africa values of Spirit, Discipline, Purpose and Pride and award one service leader the POWER award for demonstrating all of the values.


Service Partners
  • Sekwati primary school logo
  • Tshilidzi Primary school logo
  • Zola Higher Primary School logo
  • Paul Mosaka primary school logo
  • Lyndhurst primary school logo
  • Mikateka logo
  • Rebonwe Primary School logo
Amathuba Partners
  • Camp Sizanani logo
  • Phakamani young minds logo
  • WestRand Youth Development logo
  • Timberland South Africa Logo
  • Aggatu logo