Joy was written all over the faces of the students graduating from Learn to Earn’s courses as they were called to the front to receive their certificates.
The 90 students who graduated on Thursday June 29, had completed training in baking, sewing, graphic design, barista skills, basic computer skills, woodwork, sewing, business essentials, basic office skills, home management and basic hospitality skills.
Relatives gathered at Uyesu Unathi hall, in Khayelitsha, to attend the graduation ceremony.
The students were praised for their resilience, hard work and dedication, with speaker after speaker telling them they were privileged to have been among the few students who were accepted to study through Learn to Earn.
Desiree Ulster, Khayelitsha branch campus manager, said they were pleased that the students had managed to complete their studies.
She said the organisation aimed to equip young people with various skills to make them employable and to make a meaningful contribution in nation-building.
She said the harsh reality was that many young people were unable to afford some of the courses they were providing from institutions of higher learning.
Ms Ulster said 90% of their graduates wee employed while some were working for the organisation.
She also pointed out that the organisation recommended their graduates to various companies and also provided ongoing support and guidance after they had completed their studies.
“The students need a combination of good character, commitment, determination, focus drive, the right attitude and passion so that they could attain their dreams.
“We believe that every person has skills that need to be honed. What matters the most is not where you come from but where you see yourself in five years to come and how you want to better your life.
“I applaud the students for taking the steps toward creating a better future for themselves and their families and from now sky is the limit,” she said.
Asked about some of the challenges facing the organisation, she said attracting funding remained an uphill battle.
Ms Ulster said their courses catered for young and old everyone was welcome to enrol, regardless of their age.
Graduate Buyisile Mbuyi Manyi who completed a barista course, said he always knew that he wanted to be a coffee-maker and run his own business. He said when the opportunity to enrol for the course presented itself, he grabbed it with both hands.
The 24-year-old said it had not been an easy journey and at times he did not even have transport fare to get to class. Despite that, he was proud to ave been chosen as the best student in his class. Now the challenge is to find a job.
Another student, Yoliswa Ngomana, said she was pleased that she had completed her basic office skills course and now hoped to be employed.