Rural youth skills programme bears fruit

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bloemfontein - The process of developing South Africa's rural areas took a giant step forward when young people received certificates for completing the first phase of their skills empowerment programme. 

A total of 500 young people from the country's rural areas graduated and received their certificates from Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti at De Brug Military Base in Bloemfontein on Thursday. 

The graduates successfully completed a seven-week long basic training course of the new National Rural Youth Corps (NARYSEC) with the Department of Defence and Military Veterans. 

The NARYSEC is a two-year programme aimed at skills development and job creation for young people from the 3 300 rural wards in the country, who are between the ages of 18 and 35 and have at least passed grade 10.

The first group to graduate from the NARYSEC was enrolled for training with the aim of arming them with theoretical and practical knowledge, and leadership skills that will enable them to think and view life differently. 

Addressing the graduates, Nkwinti said they were looking to empower a maximum of 20 000 young people from the countryside. 

"With this initiative, government is demonstrating that it really takes young people interests seriously," he said.

After completing their two-year training programme, Nkwinti said the future leaders will be able to help their own communities with their valuable skills through creating jobs for themselves and their people.

"This, at the end of the day, will lead to the future development of our country by these graduates and in their next stage, they will conduct house profiling to determine household needs within their communities. 

"Thereafter, they will be trained in construction work so that they can build houses, roads and ablution facilities in their communities," he said. 

Nkwinti said upon completing the entire training, the group will be unleashed to their respective rural communities, where they will use their skills to build their village infrastructure. 

While the graduates received training from the Defence Department, they, however, did not undergo military training. 

For graduate, Selinah Hlakane from Mid-Vaal in Gauteng, the training helped her to learn to think out of the box.

"Now that I have received this mind-sharpening training, I will never regard and allow poverty to destruct my personal character and those of my peers in my village. When I go back home, I will mobilise other young people so that we can work together to bring about development in our area," she said.

Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi said he was delighted that graduates will return to their homes with a different life approach. 

"We taught the values of being a South African, respect, negotiation skills as well as leadership skills and our working relationship with them will last forever," he said.