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Work-Experience Programme provides local youth with opportunities

Friday, 28 June 2019  
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Macassar Pottery have taken on three youth placements on the CDI's Work-Experience Programme

The CDI recently launched a youth work-experience programme which is placing work-trainees in craft and design SMMEs who need additional capacity. Currently being run as a pilot project, it is supported by the City of Cape Town’s Expanded Public Works Programme, and has seen 23 companies recruited to date, who in turn are providing 38 youth with six-month long training opportunities.


According to Erica Elk, Executive Director of the CDI, the project places unemployed matriculants and graduates in SMMEs; it supports work readiness, on-the job and skills development training; as well as supports business owners to develop the systems and HR capacity to manage staff.


“The CDI understands that small business owners can often be overwhelmed with things to do and in need of additional capacity to support a growing business – and yet it is a daunting step to take to employ staff.


“And on the other hand, we have a crisis of unemployment and we really need to be absorbing young people into workplaces to give them meaningful experience and opportunities. This project has presented an ideal solution for both parties,” she says. 


Cape Carpenters and Woodworkers Primary Cooperative designs, erect and installs timber frame homes and loft conversions as well as specialises in cabinetry and bespoke furniture. They are based in Wynberg and have taken on three trainees.


Bridget Erasmus of Cape Carpenters and Woodworkers says that the three placements have expanded their resource base and freed up existing resources.


“This has allowed us to broaden capacity to produce thoughtfully designed kitchenware products and provide specialist woodwork and carpentry service offerings to current and prospective clients. It has also freed up existing resources to more effectively market our products and services and position our organisation as a preferred supplier of high quality, sustainable wood products as well as carpentry and structural woodworking skills,” she says.


Johan de Meyer, the director of Macassar Pottery, another of the businesses participating, says the impact is already being felt, having had three trainees join the company in June.


“Applying for government funding is not always the easiest to do. Fortunately, the CDI is great at simplifying processes. They have proved their mettle once again. We received approval for three job placements and the process from start to finish was uncomplicated, easy to engage with, with reachable targets. Our three employees were super eager to start working and have already made a significant impact in our small, township-based business. Thanks to this partnership, we are able to grow the business to a level where we will hopefully be able to retain the three posts that have been created. The CDI is helping us improve economic opportunities at grassroots, right where it is most needed,” says de Meyer.


The project was kicked-off with a free two-day HR Building Blocks for Capacity Development workshop in May 2019. “Over 30 creative SMMEs attended the workshop, and given a framework to assess and identify their business needs for human capacity development,” says the CDI Project Manager, Leone Hermans-Blackburn.

“The CDI has a portfolio of support programmes to help creative businesses grow and the work-experience programme is a new opportunity to prepare and support businesses for the additional capacity afforded by the placement programme,” she adds.

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