On June 6, local NPO Multi-Skill Training and Youth Development (Mustyd) celebrated the conclusion and graduation of its first intake of students enrolled in a course in engineering fabrication with specialisation in boilermaking.
Funded by MERSETA, the course was aimed at empowering unemployed youth in vulnerable communities with skills that will enable them to enter skills-scarce fields or become self-employed.
Mustyd was founded by the late Aburahman Isaacs, Shane Phillips, Stephan Samuels, Fred Barron and John Bennett, in response to the extreme poverty and challenges afflicting youth across East London and dearth of opportunities to apply theoretical training locally.
In 2021, the organisation was able to secure funding to provide training and over two years, the course was completed, with 30 participants receiving qualifications.
The course was targeted at participants from the greater Buffalo Flats area, especially women who are underrepresented in artisanal fields and unqualified tradesmen who have the practical skills but no official qualification.
The course covered the use of engineering hand tools, power tools, power operated machines, welding and health and safety in the workplace amongst other fields.
At the ceremony, the participants were given basic tool kits.
One participant, Melissa Domoney, said: “It was great to see so many women in the programme because I have worked on construction spaces where I was the only woman.
“The lecturers were very welcoming and it empowered us to use the power operated machines.”
Domoney hopes to finish the boilermaking qualification and learn welding to make burglar bars and security necessities.
Mustyd co-director, John Bennet said: “We truly hope that all of them will find work or become entrepreneurs.
“Mustyd is looking at the possibility of assisting graduates from the programme to partner among themselves to form artisanal cooperatives.
“It is now up to each one of them whether they decide to live a productive life or not. They have the skills, knowledge and the equipment required to do so.”
Mustyd hopes to secure funding for its second intake of students as well as to provide courses in other skills development areas in electrical and mechanical sectors.