Mining trainees without practicals struggle to find jobs

Songezile Segade, 37, had hoped that the skills he got would open many doors for him as a disabled person.
Songezile Segade, 37, had hoped that the skills he got would open many doors for him as a disabled person.
Image: 123RF/Chaloemphon Wanitcharoentham

Songezile Segade keeps file of the eight certificates he received after completing skills training funded the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) like prized possessions.

Segade, 37, from Khuma township in the North West had hoped that the skills he got would open many doors for him as a disabled person.

He was one of the 80 unemployed people from the impoverished mining town of Stilfontein who, three years ago, were selected to take part in the skills development training.

They were paid a monthly stipend of R1,500 and were to be equipped with skills on solar systems, including their installation, servicing and maintenance, among others.

"I've been applying and attaching all my certificates and especially as someone with a disability, I expected to be called for an interview but I've not been called," Segade said. "I've lost count how many CVs I've gone to drop off whenever there are vacancies."

Segade said the training they received could have been improved as it lacked practical component.

He admitted therefore that he would first need practical training before he could render services in the solar systems environment.

"We did theory on solar systems... all we know now is that the solar converts energy but we've not seen [it] practically, we've seen how it gets installed but in terms of the operations we don't know."

Segade tutors maths for grade 5s to grade 12s, but due to the Covid-19 lockdown the number of his students have declined from 10 to three. He charges between R200 and R250 a month for daily maths classes.

Segade, who gets a disability grant, added: "Two other guys who were in the same training programme with us have already given up and are now drug addicts who commit crime to feed their habits."

A few blocks away from Segade, Takalani Sigila, who also attended the same training programme, runs a hair salon business and has even managed to buy herself a laptop. From the onset, Sigila didn't use the certificates she got as she felt she didn't possess any of the skills required.

Another student who took part in the programme, Vuyiselwa Banda, 35, said: "I can't say I've learnt much, we lacked practical training. If I can go look for a job, I wouldn't know what to do."

Betty Vuthela, another participant, said the training was just a waste of time.

"We did theory, got R1,500 and watched people installing but we really didn't grasp or learn anything," Vuthela said.

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