A helping hand to young men in need

LILLIAN AMOS

A group of men from Retreat have been given a second chance through a skills development programme and will hopefully soon be employed or running their own businesses.

Twelve young men graduated from the skills development programme on Friday July 8 and were handed brand-new equipment to help kick-start their new career ambitions.

Most of the youngsters, all hailing from Retreat, haven’t had an opportunity to gain on-the-job experience.

Earlier this year R200 000 was allocated to Ward 72’s skills development project. The programme included introductory plumbing, electrical and welding courses as well as an entrepreneurial training programme.

The entrepreneurial programme was included to encourage the young men to start their own businesses.

Ward councillor Kevin Southgate said he hoped the fund injection would be the start of a successful roll-out project to create employment for the youth.

“I’m very excited about the programme that was started. There are a lot of skills development programmes around but they are usually three or four days and don’t add much value to their lives at the end of the day. I wanted to spend some of the ward allocations on skills development but I wanted it to be meaningful and for it to add value to the participants’ lives as well as the extended community,” said Mr Southgate.

The group of young men will also have an opportunity to attend programmes at False Bay College to complete courses related to the programmes they have completed.

Many of them also didn’t complete high school but one of the aims of the skills development programme is to get them registered to take a bridging course which will see them complete Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12.

The programme will also provide them with access to further training.

“The men will also be linked to recruitment agencies in the interim. We’re giving them more options to be able to become employable.

“The funding was also extended to six men who were recruited for a recognition of prior learning course.

“The prior learning course applicants who are currently completing courses at False Bay College, have been working for many years but do not have the qualifications needed to back their experience,” said Mr Southgate.

“The courses at False Bay College will give them the opportunity to do exactly that.

“We are serious and committed about this programme. We are investing in a programme that will yield results. I’d like to see these young men as the pioneers of this programme. We will definitely extend the programme if the results are a success and hopefully give more youngsters this opportunity,” added Mr Southgate.

Lincoln Lucas, 18, matriculated last year and was doing part-time work installing blinds when he first heard about the initiative.

“I was ecstatic. I didn’t really have a plan. This opportunity is so rare because it’s not many people who would invest in young men who don’t really have a plan for the future,” said Lincoln.

Lee Kleinsmith, 19, left school after Grade 10 and struggled to find work until he heard about the skills development programme.

“It’s tough out there in the job market. People don’t want to give you a job (if you don’t have)a qualification and they will definitely not give you a second look when you’re a high school drop-out,” he said.

“With these skills I will try and start my own business. I already have two jobs lined up thanks to the equipment we received. Things are looking up and I hope I’ll make a success of it,” said the young man.