Welfare to work program graduation
The Department of Social Development and the Godisang Foundation had a graduation for 316 young people who took part in the Welfare to Work Program. The ceremony was held at the Apollo Hotel in Randburg on 17 April 2018. The program was created to empower the youth with job skills that would help them get jobs in different industries or become entrepreneurs and help youth who want to get out of the grant system.
At the graduation they honoured 224 Hair and Beauty, 49 Hospitality of whom 10 are already employed and 3 are studying further, 6 Real Estate and 37 Photography students. The program started in 2015 with 150 young girls. This program is part of the Tshepo 1million initiative where 460 000 young people have already registered. The courses are all 6 to 12 months; people who want to participate can register at any of the 40 job centres in Gauteng. Those who have a grade 12 certificate are prioritised. All people who get grants between the ages 18 to 35 are welcome. People who have substance abuse problems can be assessed and linked with opportunities from the rehabilitation centres.
To motivate the future entrepreneurs different speakers from different organisations came and spoke to the graduates but also gave them a reality check into the real world of business and why they would have to push themselves. Mbongeni Nhlapo ambassador of Soft n Free and celebrity stylist said ‘’ today marks the end of hard work, sleepless nights and painful sacrifices made by all of you young people, now is where the hard work begins and where you have to push yourselves even harder than you did when you were studying. From now on you will have to know that clients are not all the same but you have to treat them all with respect and know the value they place on your brand.’’
MEC for Social Development in Gauteng Nandi Mayathula –Khoza said ‘’500 000 young people in Gauteng receive either social grants or are foster care beneficiaries. What motivated me to start this initiative is the idea of empowering young people with skills that allow them to become entrepreneurs or able to get into the job market. Social grant give dignity to families and it lowers the burden of poverty’’.
She spoke about the courage it took for the participants to take up the opportunity they were given and run with it and encouraged them to continue running towards their futures and how through the social grant system people are able to support their families and provide for their children. She emphasised how this program was the first step for youth to get out of the grant system.