Young people from Mpumalanga have been equipped to make their mark in the manufacturing sector after successfully completing training in the manufacturing of stainless steel and furniture.
The then Economic Development, Environment and Tourism MEC Pinky Phosa handed certificates to the 120 graduates in Middelburg after they completed the training.
“We need to equip young people so that they can become entrepreneurs of note. We are happy that we are also addressing the shortage of scarce skills, while encouraging them to also form cooperatives within their communities,” said MEC Phosa.
She said training young people should be matched with opportunities of employment and entrepreneurial avenues.
“I will engage with other departments so that we can come up with a way to support the small, medium and micro enterprises and youth cooperatives to ensure that they create jobs that are sustainable.
“We cannot invest in the training and fail to support them with market. The government must be a key supporter,” she said. MEC Phosa said the partnership between her department and the Furniture Technology Centre, Mpumalanga Stain- less Initiative, Mpumalanga Stainless Steel Cluster and the Mpumalanga Tooling Initiative had yielded impressive results. Eighty per cent of the young people who completed their training have become entrepreneurs, while some are employed in the manufacturing sector. The MEC said the department had prioritised job creation and training as part of its contribution towards youth empowerment. Mpumalanga Tooling Initiative coordinator Rehana Pillodia said they were pleased with the post training results for their graduates.
“We are happy about the support from the department and our trainees are being absorbed by various companies while some create jobs for themselves, she said. Pillodia said the trainees also received a monthly stipend of R700 over a period of one year.
One of the graduates, S’thembiso Sbayana, 22, said the training had provided her with opportunities to succeed.
“I wanted to become a technician but did not have money to pursue my dreams. When I heard of the opportunity, I smiled with joy knowing that I will be able to have a career in tooling. I enjoyed my training in a male dominated career. I can’t wait to hit the work environment,” she said.
Another graduate, Ahmed Mungalee, 29, burst into tears of joy when he explained how his life had changed since completing the training.
“From a young age, I’ve always regarded myself as a businessman but I did not have the opportunity to pursue my dream. After completing the training in 2012, I went all out to start a furniture business with nothing but just wood,” said Mungalee.
“I am very happy that I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. If I did it every young person can do it,” he added.