Artisan programme promises jobs for youth

Pretoria – Public Works Deputy Minister, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu has guaranteed young people who are on her department’s Artisan Development programme jobs upon completing their training.

Bogopane-Zulu made her commitment at the graduation of the first batch of young people who successfully completed the theoretical training of her department’s Artisan Development Programme on Friday.

“I want to make a commitment that each one of you would walk into jobs that suit your training and skills after successfully completing the programme. I can’t train you and not place you.

“Even if I would no longer be in my current position, I will not forget about this commitment and I will be there,” she said.

A total of 98 learners mostly from the Northern Cape received their certificates from Bogopane-Zulu at Pelindaba Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA) outside Saulsville.

She further appealed to the graduates to stay on the course until they complete their 82 weeks of training.

“As our first group of this programme, you must know that we are proud of you and we want to you to remain on this training until you complete your remaining 82 weeks.

“You must consider yourselves fortunate, some of us studied in dark and poor conditions and if I were you, I was not going to mess up this training opportunity directly linked to workplace skills,” said Bogopane-Zulu who is visually impaired.

The Artisan Development Programme will enable learners to exit with full artisan qualifications and advanced practical skills.

The training programme is funded by the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) National Youth Service (NYS) while NECSA was appointed as a service provider to train the learners.

Deputy Director-General of the EPWP, Stanley Henderson said when they started with the programme in January they had 100 learners, but two dropped out.

He further said 38 of the learners who are receiving training in boiler making, fitting and turning, mechanical, electrical and welding are young women.

Henderson said more youth from other provinces will also be recruited in future intake after the assessment of this first training programme.

Speaking on behalf of the graduates, Pulane Kealeboga Jack, 27, from the Northern Cape said: “We would like to express our gratitude in thanking the department for giving us this opportunity.

“We had our ups and downs in the past eight months we’ve been here, but today we are proud to say we are apprentices and it is time to plough back what we’ve learned in our different trades.

“I came here with no basic skills in welding, but a lot of people can be surprise to see what I can do.”

Another learner, Elroy Edmond said he finds boiler making interesting. “Before I came here, I knew nothing about boiler making and now I am enjoying the training.

“I will never disappoint by dropping out because I see no reason to start something and never finish,” he said.

The Artisan Development Programme is aimed at positively contributing to addressing the challenges posed by the high level of unemployment in South Africa.

This is particularly among the youth thereby providing them with an opportunity to earn an income while acquiring technical skills that will enhance their chances of employment, entrepreneurship and overall development.

The skills development programme covers accommodation and meals for 98 learners. The National Skills Fund will cover all training related costs such as training provider costs, assessment, moderation and certification.

Other costs to be covered by the department include; logistical costs for learners screening and selection sessions.

Top up stipends (R660 pp/ pm for theoretical component and learners allowance (R1200 pp/pm for the practical component) as well as transport costs during assessments.

By Nthambeleni Gabara, BuaNews

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