Foundation’s grant secures free skills development training

Pictured are some of the students who completed the health and frail care programme which was sponsored by the international donor, TK Foundation. At back, from left, are Dr Guin Lourens, Nanini Ngam, Vuyolewetho Mboxo, Priscilla Howburg, Andeline van der Westhuizen, Charline Jacobs, Phola Baleni and Lorrain Fakude. In front, from left, are Anchea Josephs, Jody Swanepoel, Anthea Hannekom, Melissa Steenkamp, Nokhanyo Hlungula and Zintle Momosa.

The second part of a generous grant from the TK Foundation has been transferred to Bergzicht Training to help the Stellenbosch-based skills development NGO to train another 417 students in 2018, over and above the usual students trained each year.

The TK Foundation is an international, private grantmaking foundation supporting non-profit maritime and youth development programmes across the world.

Last year, the foundation’s donation helped the NGO train 52 additional students. Over and above the 52 students sponsored by the foundation to complete the advanced programmes in 2017, Bergzicht Training also trained an additional 334 students (including those who completed the entry-level iPower (self-empowering) foundation programme) for the year. At least 81% of these graduates will be placed in full-time employment.

The first group of students to graduate from Bergzicht Training with the help of the foundation last year, consisted of 11 women who had completed the health and welfare SETA-accredited health and frail care programme and 23 students who completed the City & Guilds’ professional cooking and food and beverage service programme, a qualification within the hospitality industry, at The Private Hotel School’s (PHS) campus in Vlottenburg, Stellenbosch

“We were also privileged to receive a uniform sponsorship at the time of two uniforms per student for every professional cooking course in 2017, and thus the TK Foundation-sponsored group was also able to benefit from this donation from JLS Clothing. Thanks to their generosity, the students did not have to worry about the costs of purchasing their own uniforms,” said Renske Minnaar, the CEO of Bergzicht Training.

Except paying for the costs of the advanced programmes, graduates are also able to complete the entry-level 6-week iPower foundation programme as well as the 10-day employability course, which includes a 5-day computer training course at JCT Computer Training thanks to the foundation.

Last year, 22-year old Nokhanyo Hlungula from Klapmuts and 30-year old Melissa Steenkamp from Grabouw were part of the group who completed the health and frail care programme.

Nokhanyo had always been interested in fashion design, but unable to finance the programme, her mom encouraged her to go to Bergzicht Training. During her work-integrated learning opportunity, she was assigned to assist nursing staff with patients with dementia.

“The smiles on the patients’ faces when they saw you each morning really made my day and I thought to myself: ‘let me see how this goes’. I worked with a range of patients, some friendly and some very angry, but I learnt to remain positive.

“I also realised that I should not take patients’ outbursts personally and that they were acting that way because of the illness they have.”

Melissa was advised to come to the NGO by another nurse after being unemployed for nearly five years.

“It was a very stressful time for me as my mother and my father had to help me out in that time.”

In order to scrape the money together to travel from Grabouw to Stellenbosch, Melissa offered hairdressing services to locals in her community. When she had the travel fare she needed, she visited Bergzicht Training and registered for their entry-level programme.

After being accepted, Melissa had to travel from Grabouw every day, often leaving home at five o’clock to catch a bus to Somerset West at six o’clock. From there she would travel to Stellenbosch by taxi.

“I was determined to do something with my life. Bergzicht changed my whole life. From the first day that I started with my life skills course, I got to know myself better and I realised where I was going to go with my career going forward,” said Melissa.

Melissa did her work-integrated learning at Themba Care, a hospice in Grabouw.

“I would like to become a staff nurse and I am determined to go much further than this. I would like to encourage others like me to never give up hope, that there are always places out there who can assist you. You just have to ask around and you will find places like Bergzicht Training to help you.”

For Esebe April from Melton Rose, the City & Guilds’ professional cooking and food and beverage service programme has opened up new opportunities.

“I am more positive about everything in my life and see things differently. I have learnt that I do not have to remain where I am, that there is a big world out there and that it is possible to do the things you want to do and to live the life you want to live.”

If you’re interested in studying at Bergzicht Training, contact them at 021 883 3525 or