Laying the foundations for local youth

On the 4th of December a group of 60 exceptional Klerksdorp youths were honoured at a graduation ceremony held at the Rio Hotel in Meiringspark. All were successful in completing their 3-yearlong bricklayer apprenticeship, run by Training Force and supported by the Services SETA and Workforce Holdings.

Friends and family of the graduates, board members from the Services SETA, and executive members from all parties involved gathered to celebrate the graduates’ success. “Initiatives like this help address the dire skills shortage we’re facing in South Africa,” said acting CEO of the Service SETA, Amanda Buzo-Gqoboka, to the graduates and guests “You’ve laid the foundations for your career, now’s the time to build upon them.”

“In 2013 Training Force was awarded a contract to train unemployed youth from in and around the Klerksdorp area in bricklaying skills,” explained Training Force Operations Manager, Rita Du Chenne, “This provided numerous exciting opportunities, including the establishment for an artisan skills training centre in the area. And so we formed a public private partnership to do so.

It was decided that Training Force would upgrade an old part of Itsoseng Primary School, building four new classrooms among much more, as part of the apprentices’ training. “Since 2013 we have been committed to improving the facilities at this school. We have uplifted classrooms, installed electricity in a section of the school, build a practical training area, provided security to the school, donated office furniture, and provided numerous jobs and much much more,” said Training Centre Manager, Moorosi Moorosi.

Workforce Holdings Project Manager Peta Broomberg liaised with the Services SETA, made sure the students were being looked after and kept her watchful eye on all the proceedings throughout the course of the apprenticeship. “What they’ve achieved really is amazing, they deserve this wonderful graduation ceremony and much more,” said Peta, “There definitely were challenges, half the graduates are women which really is impressive. Physically, they worked harder still to make sure the men never left them behind. Some of the graduates were even pregnant while completing their apprenticeship, a fact that never stopped them.”

Workforce Holdings Group Skills Development Manager, Devika Reddhi, also spoke at the event, congratulating the new artisans and thank the various partners on the project, “As the Workforce Group we extend our gratitude to the Services SETA and Training Force for helping us build South Africa brick by brick through skills development.”

“My students performed exceptionally well,” said facilitator Semphete Phetlhu, “I’m very proud of them, but I didn’t prepare them to merely be bricklayers, I prepared them to be supervisors!”

One of the graduates, Khuchi O’nnike Mohlomi closed the afternoon off with some thoughtful insight, “It’s been a long and rewarding road,” he mused, “My only worry is that even with our skills we will struggle to find employment. We must work together to provide opportunities to entry level artisans, helping them make a difference.”

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