Skills Development for Market Opportunities Installation, Repair and Maintenance Hub 

Unemployment and access to job markets are critical factors in the development of local economies and the wellbeing of citizens. To accelerate inclusive growth and income-generating opportunities for inhabitants in the iLembe district, the Vuthela Local Economic Development Programme and the National Business Initiative (NBI) have established an Installation, Repair and Maintenance (IRM) Hub on the Mandeni campus of the Umfolozi TVET College.

General Repairer programme launch

While many youth in the communities of Mandeni, Sundumbili, Isithebe and surrounding areas possess trade skills they don’t have formal qualifications which can lead to them being hired only for menial work on an ad hoc basis.

With skills development essential for unemployed youth to break into the job market, a General Repairers programme was launched on 23 May 2022. From over 200 applicants, 49 youth began a journey that could lead to their employment. Interest for the programme was high, with over 200 applicants.

Trades in high demand were selected for the skills development programme with modules developed for repairs, replacements and maintenance in carpentry, carpeting, electrical, plumbing, and painting and glazing.

“By giving the students basic training on these trades, we wish for them to gain the necessary knowledge to either choose a specific trade and continue with it in the form of an apprenticeship and learnership or to seek employment with their chosen trade,” says Namasivayam Perumaul, Education Specialist: Engineering from the Umfolozi TVET College and centre manager.

Ultimately the programme will offer the youth a viable pathway to obtain recognition of skills and competencies as General Repairers that will lead to a recognised part-qualification registered with the Quality Council for Trades & Occupations (QCTO).

Split between the Mandeni Training Centre and the Sundumbili campus of the college, the students will be at each site for two weeks during the next month for theory and practicals.

A key component of the programme is on workplace learning to give the youth practical exposure and experience in the trades. The model of the overall IRM Hub project involves the SME beneficiaries who will employ these youth on completing the training programme. Some of the youth will be absorbed in this way but there are opportunities for other businesses in the area to support the programme.