Work-readiness project launched in Bridgetown

Hope of Africa has launched a work-readiness project for unemployed matriculants. The theory training takes place at the home of Chris Osborn (far right).

A non-profit organisation is providing work-readiness training and support to matriculants.

The training by Hope of Africa, is being run from the Bridgetown home of one of its members, Chris Osborn, an adult-education teacher.

With high youth unemployment in South Africa and few work and study opportunities for matriculants, young people feel hopeless and confused, he says.

“During lockdown, we witnessed the high unemployment rate in our communities. This is why we started a work-readiness training project in Bridgetown. Matriculants are trained, supported and provided with work experience through this project.”

Various life, leadership and work-readiness skills, along with driving lessons, make up the training. The practical work includes domestic-cleaning, gardening and clerical services as well as homework support, hairdressing and house painting.

The organisation does domestic cleaning at creches, old-age homes and other NPOs for free so that the youth can get work experience, says Ms Osborn, adding that the participants earn a monthly stipend.

He hopes residents will start using the service at a nominal charge so the programme can continue.

“Our motto is ‘work to learn’. Although this is a three-month programme, we continue to walk with them in a mentor role, even if they manage to secure employment. We also give them assignments to prepare them for tertiary studies.

“At the moment, we have 16 matriculants in the programme. The criteria to be part of the project is to have a matric and to be drug-free. We cannot have young people who are addicted to drugs on the project, as we will be working at people’s homes.”

Hombakazi Ngambu, 19, from Langa, says the training has helped her grow. “It definitely helped me with my communication skills.”

Ulfah Awaldien, 21, is a business-management graduate who struggled to get a job in her field of study. “I have worked as a teacher’s assistant before joining Hope of Africa. Here I learnt a lot about myself,” she says. “I believe being part of this project will give me the foot in the door that I need to get into the industry.”

Matthew Marinus, 18, completed his matric last year but was not sure what he wanted to study at tertiary level. “This project showed me that I am good with people – I like to talk. I don’t regret joining, and I think it’s the best decision I have ever made. It’s so helpful. It doesn’t just help us with job readiness but we also learn how to work in teams. People have different personalities, and some of us also needed to be exposed to people from other races. I am so grateful for all the experiences here.”

Call Mr Osborn at 082 202 1994 for more information.