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SOUTH AFRICA: Students graduate with life skills

Waves of Change Maritime Training program graduates 242 students


(MissionNewswire) The Waves of Change Maritime Training program with Salesian Institute Youth Projects graduated 242 students from life skills training, leading to 200 letters of intent for employment. One of the graduates from earlier this year has landed his dream job with MSC Cruises and is on his first journey to Istanbul.

Salesian Institute Youth Projects has been providing education, emotional support and skills development training for at-risk youth in Cape Town, South Africa, since 1910. The institute has been instrumental in changing the lives of hundreds of at-risk and vulnerable youth who would otherwise not have been able to access the job market.

One Salesian said, “More than 60% percent of South Africa’s total population is under the age of 34 years, and many are struggling to gain access to quality education. Inexperienced individuals, especially those who are desperate for employment, are at risk of falling into the vicious cycle of unemployment and a bleak future.”

The Waves of Change program includes a compulsory five-day life skills course. Students who successfully complete the course are awarded financial assistance toward obtaining the required certification for work in the fishing industry through the South African Maritime Safety Authority.

Salesian missionaries who oversee the project have been able to establish partnerships with training providers such as STC Table Bay, the Academy of Maritime Medicine and Pulse College, all of which offer free training and assistance to Salesian students. In addition, missionaries have continued to nurture long-standing partnerships with Sea Harvest, Premier Fishing, the Oceana Group and others that hire graduates of the project.

The Waves of Change program now includes the Stitch Ahead program, which caters to young women who want to learn how to sew.

The institute also offers additional programs. The “Learn to Live School of Skills” program caters to youth ages 14 to 18, who are no longer part of mainstream schooling. The four-year program provides basic education and vocational skills training. The “Porsche Mechatronics Program” enables youth to work in the automotive sector, and the “NEETs Youth Employability Program” offers a national certificate in small venture creation for youth interested in entrepreneurship. Life skills training is an integral part of the training programs.

All programs are designed to provide a positive alternative to drugs, alcohol, and violence, and they allow youth to learn the skills necessary for employment. After graduating many youth work as entrepreneurs and strive to employ others from their neighborhoods.

Poverty is extensive in South Africa with more than half the population and more than 63% of children living below the poverty line, according to UNICEF. A significant percentage of the population struggles to survive on less than $1 a day. The country is plagued by high crime rates and violence against women and girls, and it has been the hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS crisis in the world. There is an urgent need for education to help prevent the spread of the deadly virus and to help lift youth out of poverty.



Photo courtesy of Salesian Institute Youth Projects

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