NGO equips unemployed youth with critical skills

Graduates, tutors from Ithemba LCC NGO and management of Van Horsten Property were thrilled about the graduation ceremony.

Jobs are hard to find, even with a matric, but the Ithemba Labantu Lutheran Community Centre is teaching young people skills they can use to make their own opportunities.

On Monday March 13, the Philippi-based NGO handed certificates to ten young people from Mfuleni who had completed an intensive six months of training on solar installation and plumbing.

It comprises four months theory and two month practical.

Excitement and applause reverberated through Mfuleni High School as the graduates’ names were called out individually.

Speakers encouraged young people to strive to enhance their skills and to be self-reliant.

Ithemba Labantu says the harsh reality is that many young people fail to find employment or get into a university or college after writing matric, and that’s where it can help.

Russell Conradie, a tutor at the centre, said they wanted to encourage youth to be job creators instead of being job-seekers.

Mr Conradie said they focused on solar and plumbing training because of the opportunities that came with those skills. The organisation has a partnership with Van Horsten Property, giving graduates an opportunity to do their practicals.

The graduates will install 20 solar systems in some newly built houses in the neighbourhood.

“We hope that the skills they have will help them to better their lives. And the knowledge they have gained will change their outlook of life,” said Mr Conradie.

Sean van Horsten, director of Van Horsten Property, said he was humbled and grateful to be part of the programme.

He said he hoped to see some of the graduates working for his company. He said young people were the future of the country and needed to be given the tools and resources to empower themselves.

He said if residents wanted their solar units or plumbing to be fixed they should contact the graduates to fix them instead of looking for people outside their areas.

One of the participants Neziswa Mafuya, 23, said the programme had boosted her confidence and she hoped to create employment for herself.