MRP Foundation’s Production graduation saw young jobseekers graduate as multi-skilled machinists.
One hundred previously unemployed youth, some who began MRP Foundation’s Production course unable to thread a needle, toasted their new capability as multi-skilled machinists at Breakers Hotel in Umhlanga on 21 April 2017. For many, this course was a gateway to greater life opportunities, as 70 of the graduates are now employed at manufacturing firms.
With a heart to see South Africa’s youth break the cycle of poverty and inequality, the comprehensive six-month Production course is one of the MRP Foundation’s skills development programmes. It develops the skills of young jobseekers in the manufacturing sector and then links them to job opportunities. The programme is industry-aligned and aims to create sustainable employment, offering a glimmer of hope for South Africa’s youth who are struggling to enter the workforce, something Karen Wells, MRP Foundation Manager, touched on during the momentous occasion.
“I’m humbled by the passion and dedication of not only the suppliers and the implementation partners but also the students – you can truly see that together we can do good. Learning is hard work but what the students have done is sown a seed and invested in themselves. This is the start of their journey and the challenge they now have is to decide how they see value in what they do. There will always be ups and downs but they need to ask themselves if this is just a job or a stepping stone in their journey to a career.”
Nineteen-year-old Tholiwe Mkhize, from Marrianhill in KwaZulu-Natal, excelled during the course, so much so that she will be training the next intake of students as a course facilitator. The ecstatic graduate shared her heartwarming experience with the jubilant group.
“I want to thank MRP Foundation for giving us, South Africa’s youth, the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills about garments and the manufacturing industry. I came looking for employment, not realising the great benefits that lay in store. Now I have embarked on a mission to gain a further qualification. Without this course knowledge I wouldn’t have been able to become a course facilitator and share what I have learnt with others. This is just the beginning for me, my career has just started.”
Sibusiso Luthuli, a twenty-one-year-old graduate from Mayville, in KwaZulu-Natal, was another proud graduate. After school, he struggled to find employment, finally discovering MRP Foundation’s job-readiness programme that offered him a stipend while he learned a valuable skill.
“I am so grateful to MRP Foundation for giving us all this opportunity to grow and make something of ourselves. I thought I would never be able to complete this course but I’m proud to say that I’m one of the graduates today. This training has not been an easy one but as our late president, Nelson Mandela, said, ‘it always seems impossible until it’s done.’ Yesterday, dreams seemed impossible but today we are a step closer.”