Skills development programme for youth

Students paint the house of an elderly woman in Idas Valley.

Last week, the top achievers in the Mayoral Youth Skills Development programme were awarded with tools of their trade in recognition of their commitment.

This comes after they underwent a stringent recruitment and selection process for one of the five accredited artisan skills training courses they had applied for and completed at the top of their class.

Stellenbosch Municipality started this programme in 2013 due to the high unemployment rate among youth. This year saw the highest number of students completing the programme through the local training institutions, Stellemploy and Bergzicht Training.

Apart from the technical skills that the participants acquired, the courses also include a job readiness component, and are linked with the municipal Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) to ensure an opportunity at apprenticeship in the municipal building maintenance department.

Giving back to the community is included through using the practical part of the training to do maintenance on elderly residents’ houses.

This year eight students have already been employed on a permanent basis.

Damien Julies, on of the participants, said: “This course made me think about my life in general. I now realise there is a greater goal for each of us. I was thankful that I was chosen to do this course because it has given my life a new purpose.”

Stellenbosch Municipality is proud of the contribution they are able to make towards addressing poverty and the high unemployment rate within our communities and aim to continue with this programme on an annual basis.

Businesses can contact Michelle Aalbers at the Community Development Department, at 021 808 8408, should they want to become a partner through the provision of employment or apprenticeship opportunities.