The youth from Ugu District Municipality in the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, will no longer have to travel long distances to access the necessary tools and knowledge to succeed in various fields, thanks to the opening of a youth skills centre.
KwaZulu-Natal Social Development MEC, Nonhlanhla Khoza, unveiled a state-of-the-art youth skills centre in Bhobhoyi area, Port Shepstone, on Tuesday.
The R27 million facility is a beacon of hope for the community of Bhobhoyi, which was deeply affected by past political conflicts that denied many youth educational opportunities.
Named after the late revered youth leader, Tolomane Mnyayiza, the centre aims to address the pressing skills shortage and empower youth in the Ugu District.
Mnyayiza fought tirelessly against the repressive apartheid regime and served as an inspiration to countless young people in the district.
Khoza said Mnyayiza’s legacy lives on through the centre, which symbolises government's unwavering dedication to combating unemployment and uplifting the lives of youth across the province.
Khoza explained that the decision to name the centre after Mnyayiza was driven by his lasting impact on the youth.
“Naming the centre after Mnyayiza is a tribute to his unwavering dedication to empowering young people. It symbolise's government's commitment to empowering youth across the province, eradicating social ills and providing them with abundant opportunities for success,” the MEC said.
She highlighted that the centre stands as a testament to government's commitment to providing world class training, to equip young individuals with high-level skills demanded by the modern workforce.
“Offering diverse training programs across a wide range of disciplines, the centre empowers youth to pursue their passions and gain practical knowledge in their chosen fields. By investing in this transformative initiative, government aims to create a resilient generation ready to tackle the challenges of the ever-evolving job market,” Khoza said.
Speaking at the official opening of the centre, Khoza underscored the department's unwavering dedication to confronting the challenges faced by the youth, particularly the pervasive issue of unemployment.
Recognising that equipping young people with vocational skills is essential in addressing this issue, Khoza emphasised the vital role played by the skills centre in fostering a diverse pool of skilled youth capable of fully participating in the various sectors of the economy.
"We firmly believe that our youth should not have to rely on handouts due to lack of skills required by the job market. It is imperative for young individuals to play a significant role in creating a better future for themselves," Khoza said.
The MEC also emphasised the department's transition from welfare-focused initiatives to empowering youth through skills development.
“By providing disadvantaged youth with the essential skills needed to build their lives and create employment opportunities, the centre aims to cultivate self-reliant entrepreneurs who positively contribute to their communities,” she said.
Provincial Chairperson of the House of Traditional and Khoi-San leaders, Inkosi Sifiso Shinga, commended the department for fulfilling its commitment to the community.
"We are delighted to witness government's dedication to this transformative project. This centre holds immense significance for all of us as it addresses the challenges faced by our children.
“By providing them with marketable skills, we empower our youth to no longer remain idle, but to create their own employment opportunities," Inkosi Shinga said.
Speaking on behalf of Mnyayiza family, Onke Mnyayiza expressed their joy in having the centre named after their family member.
"Our father was deeply passionate about the progress and development of young people. We firmly believe that this centre will keep his dream alive, shielding young individuals from social ills, particularly the scourge of drugs, by equipping them with the skills needed for employment in the market.”
During the ceremony, the first group of approximately 52 young people were awarded certificates after successfully completing training in various fields, including garment making, plumbing, bricklaying, electrical work, hospitality and basic computer literacy. – SAnews.gov.za