Impact SA

JSE offers unemployed graduates an opportunity to give back to communities


The Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s (JSE) flagship CSI programme, the Investment Challenge, is offering unemployed graduates an opportunity to learn to become mentors or catalyst teachers as part of their personal development while giving back to their communities.

An opportunity to gain new skills

Ralph Speirs, JSE’s CSI official, says while this is not an offer for full-time employment, the catalyst teachers  assist learners to master investing on the JSE’s Investment Challenge for the duration of the annual competition. “This opportunity gives graduates that are interested to be catalyst teachers or mentors an opportunity to add to their skills set that may very well prepare them for employment in the future,” says Speirs

Through the JSE Investment Challenge, the exchange aims to teach South African learners and students about investing on the JSE and the larger role that such investment plays in the country’s economy. Participating schools and tertiary institutions learn how to trade shares, among other listed financial instruments on a simulated trading platform. The JSE Investment Challenge was developed to help spread financial literacy among the youth of South Africa.

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Call for new catalyst teachers

At present, the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and North West provinces do not have catalyst teachers. 

Speirs says the JSE is, however, aiming to recruit mentors for all provinces to cover as many schools in disadvantaged areas as possible. He says catalyst teachers help to “level the playing field” as some schools in rural and peri-urban environments do not have the same degree of access to information and resources.

“Over the past three years, we have observed that schools with catalyst teachers tend to perform better in certain categories of the Investment Challenge,” says Speirs.

Catalyst teachers will receive a monthly stipend for the duration of the Investment Challenge.

Speirs says the ideal candidate to successfully play the role of catalyst teacher is an individual with an undergraduate degree, regardless of the field of study, who has a burning desire to give back to their community. “Of course, a catalyst teacher with an interest in finance and/or the stock market is preferable, but our emphasis in selecting catalyst teachers is on those individuals who have an interest in and are committed to the programme and giving back to their communities,” says Speirs.

Selected catalyst teachers will initially receive a two-day training session broken down into smaller blocks to familiarise them with the subject matter. “Catalyst teachers’ learning journey continues past the two-day training and they will stay in touch with the Investment Challenge officials to provide support as and when they need it,” says Speirs. 

A critical role

 Speirs says catalyst teachers also become pseudo-life-coaches in other life skills, as they play a critical role of encouraging the learners to stay the course when the chips are down. 

“The stock market is not always smooth sailing, learners need to appreciate that there will be difficult times and a catalyst teacher becomes a key figure in keeping them motivated and focused on the long-term goal,” explains Spiers. “A  catalyst teacher, has tremendous influence over the participants’  lives, keeping them motivated and helping them learn how to work in teams.”

“It is an amazing experience for both the learners and catalyst teachers. I can’t wait to welcome our next group of mentors.”

Graduates who are interested in being catalyst teachers can send an application to by 30 April 2021.

 Learners and students are encouraged to register for the competition, by visiting the JSE Investment Challenge website.  To stay updated, follow the competition’s social media accounts on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


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