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Yes empower Alexandra youth through skills development programmes

The Youth Employment Services (Yes) initiative which is recognised for its innovative approach to tackling unemployment, empowers the township's youth through innovative training programmes.

Youth Employment Services (Yes) stands as a beacon of hope for the youth of Alexandra.

This is through its wide range of programmes offered at the Alexandra Netcare Ulusha Hub. The programmes are designed to arm the youth with the skills needed to thrive in the modern economy.

RPSA training Facilitator Mothusi Kamanga says the drone programme is all about teaching the youth how to fly a drone. Photo: Xoliswa Zakwe

According to the hub manager Tholi Cenenda, Yes is not a training institution but provides employment opportunities that include training elements for the youth, and post-training the youth are placed in a Quality Work Experience Programme at various host sites in the sector.

Participants of the drone programme Hulisani Netshilulwe, Thabang Matlala and Piet Mohale. Photo: Xoliswa Zakwe

Currently, Cenenda said the hub was running three programmes such as drone, solar installation and maintenance and community courses that include entrepreneurship, digital skills and financial wellness.

Alexandra Netcare Ulusha Hub manager Tholi Cenenda showcases some of the products made at the hub. Photo: Sipho Siso

“We are currently running the drone programme funded by the Industrial Development Corporation and the certification that the youth will receive in the end is endorsed by the Civil Aviation Authority. We take 25 people to participate in the programme for three months after which the youth obtain remote pilot licences.

Some of the products made at the hub. Photo: Xoliswa Zakwe

“We have a solar maintenance programme where we teach the youth how to install and maintain solar panels. The reason we are doing solar is that we are trying to make sure that as South Africa transitions, the youth is not left behind, they have the necessary skills to get jobs in this sector,” Cenenda said.

She added that they are currently training 40 youths for the programme and when they finish the two months of training they will be placed at different companies for 12 months of practical experience.

Ponani Bongani Shikweni, the director of Huluvuko Designs, a textiles section at the hub where youth can design and sew clothes. Here she showcases one of the blankets they sewed. Photo: Xoliswa Zakwe

“We also have a programme called Young Content Creators who create content for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and get paid daily. We are training them to grow the tourism industry and it’s one of our big initiatives with Sanlam.”

The Youth Employment Services offers a wide range of training programmes for the youth of Alexandra at its Alexandra Netcare Ulusha Hub at the Alex Mall. Photo: Xoliswa Zakwe

She added the youth do get paid while they do their training. “The reason we are paying them is to enable them to cover daily transport costs to the training.”

A participant of the solar panel programme Londiwe Sethole says she has learnt a lot about solar panel installation and maintenance. Photo: Xoliswa Zakwe

According to Cenenda, Yes is to introduce two other programmes, the SMME development programme and the culinary and digital skills programme.

“The SMME development programme will have 11 local youth business owners who will be trained to grow their businesses and this will start sometime in May.

The participants of the drone programme. Photo: Xoliswa Zakwe

“Culinary will be a pop-up training to be held outside the hub but within the Alex community. We are still looking for centres that we will use for the training and this programme will start around June or July, depending on how quickly we will find partners.”

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