Not since February 1990 when the late Mr Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years, have we seen such euphoria in South Africa. After years of chaos, corruption and ‘state capture’, we have a new President – Mr Cyril Ramaphosa. He has promised to root out corruption, improve the morale of the people, encourage and work towards getting foreign investment and lead to an increase in employment, especially among the youth.
He has a huge task on his hands and we can’t expect it to happen immediately.
In an attempt to help the unemployed youth and young adults, we at Mercy Centre in Winterveldt (40km northwest of Pretoria) are engaged in a fairly extensive skills training programme. The centre offers hard skills; welding, basic engineering, joinery, cabinet making, construction carpentry and brick-laying. For the ladies and some men we offer catering, sewing and dress design as well as all the ICT programmes and office procedure.
Recently we started craft baking and have now completed the first course with two young men and seven ladies in a basic Baking Skills Programme and confectionary making.
In recent years, the Department of Labour introduced a number of SETAS (SECTORAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING AUTHORITIES). Mercy Centre has been accredited with three of the SETA – the FoodBev SETA, MERSETA (a Metal and Engineering SETA) and Media Information Communication and Technology SETA (MICT SETA). Such accreditation gives the trainee a certificate of a very high standard and nationally recognised status when job seeking.
We are deeply indebted to the Catholic Institute of Education (CIE) for the encouragement, support, advice and help in our efforts to achieve this accreditation and obtaining programme approval. Mercy Centre has now been upgraded to Community College status. There is a College in each of the nine provinces in the country and Mercy has been chosen as a pilot for Gauteng Province.
Please pray that we may, in some way, be instrumental in helping the poor to achieve a better quality of life for themselves and their families and to lessen the very high numbers of unemployed young people in the country.
Majella Quinn rsm
South African Province