Training for young job seekers

Beauty and wellness student Jade Adams, left, takes pointers from coordinator Roxy Marosa in helping client AAishah Samsodien. Image by Patrick King

A Sybrank Park non-profit organisation is helping to give teenagers the edge in a competitive jobs market once they leave school.

The Amy Foundation already offers training to school leavers but now it will provide vocational training to pupils from Grade 9 up to matric, helping them explore better career options, according to managing director Kevin Chaplin.

Late last month, the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, UWC’s department of post school studies, the Council on Higher Education and Premier Alan Winde took part in an online conference the foundation held on vocational skills. Since 2014, the foundation’s youth skills development programme has taught hospitality, beauty and wellness, craft and design, other skills to school leavers, and, according to Mr Chaplin, the foundation has so far placed 800 students from that programme in jobs.

Mr Chaplin said the foundation had realised there was a gap between its after-school programme and youth skills development programme. It was a gap it hoped to fill with the vocational skills programme.

“We want to educate and empower future leaders and keep them away from negative influences,” he said.

The vocational programme will offer on-the-job training for pupils in the work they hope to do after leaving school.

Mr Winde said the programme could help to tackle youth unemployment.

“In our province 28% our youth from the ages of 15 to 24 are not in employment or education or training and that means we are going to have to put our heads together to fix this problem.”

Covid-19, he added, had not helped matters.

“We lost over 100000 jobs in our tourism industry, 41000 jobs in construction and lost 38000 jobs in the informal sector, and we need to get those jobs back.”

Changes were needed in the educational, technical and vocational skills systems and partnerships should be forged between business and government, he said.

Nigel Prinsloo, from UWC’s department of post school studies, said the lockdown would lead to a shift to online learning but that brought its own problems because of inequality in education. And Covid-19 could cost some Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions their donor funding, he warned.

“We also need to look at a South African way of solving problems when we introduce programs. We need to look at how they can be sustainable and benefit the society they serve,” he said.

Cassie Kruger, the ministerial appointee on the Council on Higher Education, said they wanted to break down the stigma that TVET colleges didn’t offer the same high level education as universities.

The lower costs of programmes run by TVET colleges should not let future students think they were getting a poor quality education, he said.

Visit or email to learn more about the Amy Foundation and its vocational skills training.