By JOY HINYIKIWILE
With the country’s unemployment rate at an all-time high, Joza’s Assumption Development Centre (ADC) has committed to placing 117 unemployed people in local organisations and businesses as interns.
The ADC, a skills training and small business development centre, is one of several partner organisations that have received a grant from the Social Employment Fund to help fight unemployment.
The organisations will provide internships to unemployed people between July this year and March next year for R23.19 per hour. The interns work an average of 15 hours a week.
“We look for organisations that can help the interns develop sustainable skills that will improve their employability in the future,” said Masonwabe Nduna, ADC’s programme coordinator.
So far, the centre has placed 77 people to work in schools and different organisations in the area. Amongst the 77 interns are 19-year-old Sophephelangaye Ngoqo and 30-year-old Masixole Madikwa.
A former Mary Waters pupil, Sophephelangaye was placed at the Assumption Nutrition Centre in July. Her job entails providing extra lessons to Grades 4 and 5 learners after school and helping with meal preparations. The 19-year-old says she is grateful for the internship because it has given her something to do while she waits to go to university next year.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to build my resume while I wait to continue my studies,” she said. “I have also been enjoying working with children.”
Masixole was recently placed at CM Vellem Primary School to work as an assistant teacher. He holds an LLB degree from UNISA and has been struggling to get a job to complete his articles.
“I frequented ADC to use their computer lab while I was studying, and I ended up completing some of the skill-building courses they provide,” he explained. “I’m now grateful for the opportunity to earn something and build new skills while I wait for a chance to pursue my dream of becoming a prosecutor,” he said.
ADC aims to improve the economy of townships around Makhanda and fight poverty and unemployment. The centre started operating in 2014 and has provided communities with free professional development courses, psychological services, life skills programmes, matric re-write and upgrade programmes, business mentorship, and job placement opportunities.
On Friday, the organisation held a placement workshop at Joza’s Duna library to prepare new interns for their roles.
“Job placement has always been part of our mandate here at ADC, but when the pandemic hit in 2020, our project was disrupted,” said Nduna. “I’m happy that we have resumed helping people gain work experience.”
The centre also provides a free computer lab to the community and helps some people they work with getting driver’s licences. It partners with various organisations and institutions to secure funding and help the community. Nduna says the centre is currently short-staffed and is looking to secure funding to employ more workers and enlarge its working environment.
“Our space is becoming too small for the number of people we help,” he said. “We would also like to extend our building to accommodate the people who are increasingly coming to access our services.”
Partner organisations taking in interns include Awarenet, Mfuzo Boxing Camp, Access Music Project, Sophumelelo Youth Development and St Mary’s Development and Care Centre.
“We have committed to take in at least 278, but hope to reach the target of 300,” said Kjetil Torp regarding the collective number of interns the partner organisations making use of the Social Employment Fund grant have committed to place.
Torp is Awarenet’s Director and the partner in charge of implementing the placement project. The Learning Trust is the strategic implementing partner behind the project. According to Torp, over 150 people have been placed so far, and it is hoped around 300 people will be placed eventually.