A literature study and empirical study of limited scope was undertaken to explore
and describe the experiences of a peer support group in a high school in Gauteng,
in terms of their knowledge, skills and competence to support peer group members,
as well as their training. The empirical study was qualitative in nature and in depth
case study was used as research design, with focus groups, observation and semistructured interviews as research methods. The study revealed that peer support group members regard their knowledge concerning support procedures, basic support skills, as well as more serious contemporary problems and their impact,as insufficient. Furthermore, they expressed the need for a more practical orientated approach to training, including discussions of case studies and role play, as well as for continuous training, empowerment and support by a supervisor. Despite the fact that peer support members have not been consulted by numerous peers,
they are required to deal with problems such as depression, conflict management,
drug abuse, alcohol abuse, rape, relationship problems and suicide. In conclusion recommendations are made for possible implementation during future training processes, aimed at the empowerment of peer support teams in South African secondary schools.