The JumpStart Manufacturing programme is preparing youth for the working world.
“You don’t have to be great to start, you just have to start to be great,” Zig Ziglar
The class of 2015 Jump Start Manufacturing Production graduates were in high spirits as they celebrated qualifying as multi-skilled machine operators at a recent MRP Foundation ceremony at Breakers Resort in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal on February 10, 2016.
Along with partners, strategic suppliers and MRP Foundation associates the ceremony highlighted the 144 graduates’ achievements and Mr Price Group’s efforts to strengthen the local manufacturing industry.
The excited graduates had just completed a five-month manufacturing and job readiness programme at seven of Mr Price Group’s key strategic suppliers across KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State. The course upskills unemployed youth to become multi-skilled machine operators and after launching in the clothing and footwear sectors the programme has now expanded into home textiles.
Geared specifically towards the needs of the factories the production programme doesn’t just train multi-skilled machine operators, its aim is to grow the local manufacturing sector something implementation partner Shaun Gannon from B&M Analysts shed some light on.
“Since 2013 the programme has trained 634 machine operators and, to date, 80% of trainees are employed in the factories in which they were trained. Amazingly, the jobs that have been created through this programme represent about 2,5% of all jobs in the formal clothing, textile and footwear manufacturing sectors in KwaZulu-Natal. Our target is to increase employment from 20,000 to 60,000 by 2025 and position KZN and South Africa as a leader in clothing, textile and retail manufacturing. For the graduates this is just the beginning of their career – manufacturing is a growing industry in this province and there are huge opportunities to grow along with it.”
South Africa has been hit hard by youth unemployment, something Nolwazi Khanyile, a graduate from the strategic supplier in Isithebe, unfortunately, knows a lot about. The twenty-five-year-old was unemployed before she joined the JumpStart programme and felt helpless at home after her previous job ended.
“During the life skills part of the course, they taught us about vision and how vision must be driven by dreaming and your purpose. You can’t just dream but you have to change the way you see things and think. When I first started the training programme I didn’t even know how to use a machine, but with passion, I learnt. I’m now a different person, I’m a dreamer, I’m a winner.”
With numerous stories of hope emanating from the bi-annual graduation ceremony, the MRP Foundation believes that the JumpStart skills development programme will play a key role in South Africa overcoming its challenges in the youth unemployment space.