Helping young people become employable

Kolping Trainees

Pictured above: The Grassy Park group after the completion of the first phase of their training, a 12-day life skills course. The course is designed to build up participants self esteem and confidence, prepare them for the world of work, and teach them how to apply for jobs, prepare CVs, and how to conduct themselves in interviews.


Unemployment is one of the major challenges facing South Africa today – especially among young people. Many of them have never had a job, and have little hope of ever finding one. This leads to feelings of hopelessness and depression, as there seems to be no way to escape a life of poverty and hardship. Worse, young people with nothing to do all day are more likely to turn to alcohol, drugs and gangsterism.

Hairdressing skills
Two young ladies who attended training at the Hairdressing Academy. Cape Town SVP paid for the uniforms and the “toolbox” of equipment for each participant, as well as providing the transport to get all of the participants to the training institutions.

Kolping SA, a Catholic Non-Governmental Organisation with its head office in Durbanville, Cape Town, is working on solutions to the problem.  With the help of funding from the Federal Government of Germany, the organisation has designed a programme to help young people from disadvantaged areas gain the skills they need to find jobs. Known as the KSA Work Opportunity Programme, the initiative provides opportunities to train in the hospitality, engineering, hairdressing and frail care fields. So far, the programme has been run in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, Oudtshoorn, and Kimberley.

The SSVP Central Council in Cape Town has formed a collaboration with Kolping SA. Already, 37 young people from Grassy Park, Lotus River and Parkwood, have spent 4 to 6 months undergoing training at accredited Institutions. By the end of April this year, 19 of them had found work. Another 9 are in the internships programme sponsored by the respective SETAs (Sectoral Education and Training Authority).

It’s a good example of a “Hands-up” project which empowers individuals to take care of themselves and their families, instead of relying on hand-outs from SSVP. For more information on how to access this programme for your conference or council, please contact Bernard Kohler at

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