South Africa: Occupational skills training for school leavers

A training also for those who have dropped out from school and no longer believe in themselves? This is what KOLPING South Africa has offered young people with its Work Opportunity Programme (WOP) for over twenty years. At the end of October, another course started to train eleven young men and one woman in welding.

“The WOP programme has rescued me – I have become a new person“. This or similar statements is what Volker Greulich, our Africa desk officer keeps hearing when he visits the skills training courses. South Africa has got a good educational system but many children and young people, especially from poor and Coloured communities, have no access to it. KOLPING is focused on skills training for young people in the townships. Most of them experience for the first time that someone believes in them and trusts them to accomplish something. In a personal development course, the youngsters are psychologically cared for and learn about life skills before they select a suitable occupation and start a skills training course that will last several months. Participants can choose from a broad range of training courses, such as welding or cooking classes, but there is also a high demand for office management or short training courses where participants are taught how to repair mobile phones or computers.