This year, 2019, marked the beginning of a prosperous year for approximately 120 young people from the Knysna and Plettenberg Bay municipal areas, as they benefited from the Garden Route Municipal Training Programmes, which includes: First Aid Level 3 Training; Driver’s License Training and Law Enforcement Training.
These training programmes originated from the Garden Route Rebuild Initiative (GRRI), which was established after devastating fires hit the district (Knysna/Plettenberg Bay) in June 2017, and the need for a District Skills Mecca was identified.
The Training Programmes are funded by the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and is managed through the Office of the Executive Mayor, under the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). The project’s primarily focus is on youth development in the Garden Route, building capacity among young people; breaking the chain of unemployment and ensuring a marketable labour force in the region.
During the official launch of the training programme, which kicked-off in Plettenberg Bay, the Deputy Mayor of the Bitou Municipality, Cllr Sandile Gcabayi, warmly welcomed guests and applauded the District Municipality for the initiative of providing skills development opportunities to young people in the district.
The Manager in the Office of the Executive Mayor, Mr Siphiwe Dladla, briefly explained the background, purpose and objective of the project. When elaborating on the selection and recruitment process he emphasised that according to the number of applications received, the need to continue with the programme is evident. He ensured the audience that representation from all wards and areas of the greater Plettenberg Bay and Knysna were covered during the selection process. Lastly, he explained that the First Aid Level 3 course will be an entry level, where after participants will be able to further their studies to become paramedics.
In his keynote address, the Garden Route DM Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen, stated that the Garden Route Municipal Training Programme will be rolled-out in all 7 B-municipalities in the district. He further explained that the Garden Route, in collaboration with various stakeholders, among others, the Provincial Government is in the process of establishing a Skills Mecca. He raised a concern that participants are not taking opportunities seriously and said: “People complain that they are unemployed, but when we provide opportunities to enter the employment arena, they do not take it seriously. Remember, you must be the ones who need to give the opportunities to those who did not make it into the programme, the first time around, because if this programme becomes successful, we will continue with the roll out “.
Later in the day, the second launch of the Programme took place at the Knysna Municipality. Beneficiaries from Knysna and surrounding areas attended this remarkable gathering. The Executive Mayor of Knynsna Municipality, Cllr Mark Willemse, officially welcomed guests and extended a special word of gratitude to the Garden Route DM Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen, and his delegation for an amazing initiative.
The programme followed the same route as in Plettenberg Bay. In conclusion, the EPWP Manager, Mr Richard Dyantji, introduced the Service Providers appointed to train the participants. He encouraged the participants to make use of the opportunity given to them, to “grab it with both hands and run with it”. Subsequent to the formalities, service providers were given the opportunity to discuss the course layout with the participants.
During the past festive season, participants of the previous law enforcement training programme acted as peace officers and assisted the two municipalities to uphold law and order. The Garden Route Municipal Training Programme will be rolled-out to other municipal areas within the Garden Route District.
The children of any nation are its future. A country, a movement, a person that does not value its youth and children does not deserve its future – Oliver Tambo