Last Saturday, the Learn to Live School of Skills held a market day at the Salesian Institute Youth Projects (SIYP)in Green Point.
The Learn to Live School of Skills is a four-year programme that prepares learners aged 14 to 18 from disadvantaged backgrounds for the world of work. Through project-based learning methods they offer courses in hairdressing, hospitality, electrical and woodwork. The students showed off their skills to their parents, friends and supporters that braved the rain.
“This market day is to teach our learners about entrepreneurial skills, they have been preparing for this day during the term and now they are putting it into practice. We want our learners to be independent and economically active when they leave here,” said Tony Austen, the principal of the Learn to Live School of Skills.
“This was a success despite the weather and we will have another one soon. They are learning about business first hand and we will continue this,” he said.
Neil Oortman, the reading programme co-ordinator, says the school is creating valuable learning opportunities for each one of the 217 students.
“We do assess them before we start as some struggle with the basic reading and writing foundation principles. Many of them fall out of the mainstream schools but here they get that one-on-one training to get that basic skill in their life and we have many success stories, learners that have gone on to find jobs and be successful,” said Mr Oortman.
Jo Da Silva, the fundraising manager for the SIYP, says that funds are needed to continue the vocational education that they provide for the teenagers.
“We are an NGO and we run on donated funds. What we produce is human capital and we develop and increase human capacity. We offer hope and dignity first, life skills and vocational training as well as psycho-social support, and we charge no fees,” said Ms Da Silva.
“They get three meals a day here as well as transport fees, we make sure they have stationery and educational material as well as four years of training so we definitely need support from the community, the city, companies. We do get support from the WCED but are we looking out for assistance from the private sector because without this school the kids will be back on the streets,” she said.
Ms Da Silva adds that children that are uneducated are easily led down the wrong path and absorbed by gangsterism.
“They can change their narrative but we need partnerships to come on board, we need society to assist us because we cannot allow these children to be led down the wrong path,” she said.