Mbombela – Nearly 500 young people from Mpumalanga have graduated from the National Youth Service skills development programme.
Provincial Public Works, Roads and Transport MEC, Dikeledi Mahlangu, awarded the 498 graduates with certificates during a ceremony held in Mbombela.
The certificates are in recognition of their 12-month artisan training in various crafts including carpentry, plumbing, bricklaying and electrical wiring.
“I am very excited about this certificate as it will open opportunities for me. I always wanted to be in the construction business and this will be a start for me,” said one graduate, Thandiwe Dlamini, who is 25.
Dlamini said she would volunteer as a bricklayer at a construction company.
She said it was not easy for her to complete the course, but that it was worth her while.
“We had to mix sand and cement, push wheelbarrows and carry bricks. The male students in our group were treating us like their equals,” said Dlamini.
Another graduate, Khethiwe Zwane, 25, from Standerton, said the course was a blessing.
“This was really a blessing for me as I’ve lost both my parents. I was just sitting at home when I saw this opportunity. Now I want to finish [building] my parents’ house and also plough back in the community. I will also take part in the building of RDP houses in my area,” said Zwane.
MEC Mahlangu said the National Youth Service was a national programme that aimed to involve young people in a disciplined process to positively contribute to the communities in which they live, while also improving their own skills, education and opportunities to generate income.
She said some of the graduates would be absorbed into the department’s workforce, while the others would further their entrepreneurial skills within the enterprise development programmes in the province.
“The beneficiaries of this programme contributed to the maintenance of public buildings while participating in an artisan training programme. We are very happy with their achievement so far,” said Mahlangu, promising that the department would prioritise women.
“The programme has remained a beacon of hope for the unemployed youth in the province because to date, a total 1 360 have been capacitated since the programme was launched in 2007,” said the MEC.
By Siphiwe Nyathi, BuaNews