The Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre in Port Elizabeth is committed to eradicating poverty and unemployment among the Nelson Mandela Bay youths through skills training.
This comes after Nedbank contributed R200000 to the centre to provide training for 12 woodwork students.
Last week’s donation brings the bank’s investment in the centre to R1m after two earlier contributions of R500000 and R300000 towards early childhood development in 2011 and hospitality training in 2012.
A total of 24 students, of whom 16 are now fully employed, have benefited from Nedbank’s investment since the start of the partnership.
One of the graduates is Nokulunga Tatavi, who got a holiday job at the Paxton Hotel in Port Elizabeth in 2012 and is now a full-time employee at the hotel.
“I was given a wonderful opportunity to train in the hospitality industry by the Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre as I could not afford to study after school,” Tatavi said.
The centre’s project manager, Caroline Ferreira, said most of the youths they trained were victims of poverty.
“We work with the youth to help them make better choices and to take ownership of their lives,” Ferreira said.
“We are humbled by their thirst for knowledge and the pride they take in their achievements. To date we have trained 697 students, of whom 79% gained meaningful employment.”
Portfolio manager for corporate social responsibility at Nedbank Rhulani Lehong said unemployment remained a major challenge for the country, particularly among the youth.
“Lack of skills and effective skills development programmes are key contributors to this problem. To address this issue Nedbank is committed to working with partners to provide support for a variety of skills training and job creation projects,” Lehong said.
The centre offers vocational guidance and skills training in areas such sewing, crafts, hairdressing, woodwork and upholstery, hospitality studies and others to previously disadvantaged youths between the ages of 18 and 25 years.