There was much excitement after a group of locals successfully completed their three months’ learnership programme at Breidbach Secondary School last week.
The Department of Environmental Affairs provided an opportunity for unemployed youth in BCM to empower themselves while learning skills in the field of bricklaying and plastering, with 45 people ultimately taking part.
The participants were drawn from places in BCM Ward 44 such as Breidbach, Tshatshu Village, Qalashe, Sweetwaters, Acorn Valley and Siyathemba.
When the Go! & Express arrived at the school, a group of women under the watchful eyes of facilitator Bonisile Toli were busy laying bricks to a new guard house they were building.
Toli said they started with the learnership programme at the beginning of December last year.
“It was tough at the beginning after I learnt that 90% of the participants were new to the trade and had no knowledge or previous experience.
“However, they were all fast learners, and were committed and disciplined which made my task easy,” Toli said.
“They also received a monthly stipend for the period worked and will be furthermore issued with a certificate for their successful completion of a bricklaying and plastering learnership.”
Acorn Valley resident Anelwa Rayile said the project was challenging but exciting.
“We as women always thought that building was only for men but since we have started with this programme, that perception changed.
“We have enjoyed our time working and our minds and perceptions are now broader,” Rayile said.
Breidbach resident Jenna Ohlson said she has learnt a lot, but criticised the course as being too short.
“We were taught the usage of different tools such as spirit levels, squares and so on but I personally think this course was way too short and that there is still so much that we could learn,” she said.
“We couldn’t cover everything, such as how to set up scaffolding, which is also important in bricklaying.”
Nolubabalo Maselana of Qalashe said the course has equipped her to build her own house.