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Equipping the youth with a skill to furnish their future

The handcraft skills development.

Thirty of the youth from Riverlea has been in training by the company called Skills to Furnish International. The company offers education and skills training in furniture making.

Facilitator, Luvuyo Ntotho explained the first stages of the cabinet making training. For the first two weeks of training, they are introduced to health and safety regulations in a work area so that they are aware of any dangers.

From there they spend another two weeks, in theory, learning about the tools which they will be using.

“They must get the basics, so we start with hand tools, power tools which are the electrical tools, then on the fifth week they start with their individual projects,” he added.

When asked how this whole project began, Bongie Sekatane, the project coordinator of Riverlea Skills Development Centre, formally known as EnviroParks explained: “We realised that not all of our students are interested in doing our computer courses so we met the team from Skills to Furnish International and asked them if some students could attend their skill workshop.

We are now paying for thirty of our youth to do this course. We advertised and the youth had to apply, after that we put them on a database and called for interviews, it was only after the interviews that they were chosen,” explained Sekatane.

In the upholstery class, the students are taught how to make a big and small kist, round and square ottoman and they also learn how to cover lounge suites.

Koketso Sekokotla in the spray painting division.

In the spray painting and wood finishing department students learn about the following:

– Sanding the wood smoothly

– Sealing the wood

– Colouring the wood by mixing different colours and using various spraying techniques

– Finishing off with a gloss coat of the final product.

After six months of the training, they get tested to see their competence and if they pass they receive a Level 2 or 3 Competence certificate which is accredited with the Skills Education Training Authorities (SETA).

Level 2 is the students who have the basic training and Level 3 are for those students who already had the experience and were now trained from what they know.

Shaun Nthimkhulu and Evans Lekoane in the spray painting department.

The Level 3 students are those who want to start their own businesses. Centre manager of Skills to Furnish International, Maki Mofokeng said: “The training company offers four trades which students can choose from and each trade is a six months training.

“We have a network of furniture companies so when the students are done with the training, we refer them to the different companies.”

Students attend the workshop every Monday to Thursday. The students are transported by the Riverlea Taxi Association to Faraday where the skills development training takes place.

Nosaziso Mdludlu adds finishing touches on kists.

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