Youth leadership development candidates in training at SAS Saldanha

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The arrival of 735 selected National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) men and women at SAS Saldanha brings to 1 630 the number of recruits currently at SA National Defence Force (SANDF) bases.

The new arrivals at the SA Navy (SAN) training facility on the west coast are part of this year’s intake for the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) skills provision initiative aimed specifically at young men and women in South Africa’s rural areas. The SANDF involvement is, along with its military skills development (MSD) programme, part of the force’s contribution to government’s National Development Programme (NDP) which has the overarching aim of eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by 2030.

The SANDF component takes in NARYSEC recruits selected for its Youth Leadership Development Programme (YLDP). The NARYSEC programme, Sub-lieutenant Judy Baatjes reported, will “capacitate unemployed youth with skills to be able to plough back into the South African economy”.

The first batch of this year’s youth leadership development component of NARYSEC reported at Dunnottar military base on the East Rand of Gauteng province last month (September). Their “hosts” are 1 Construction Regiment, a full-time force unit in the SA Army Engineer Formation.

Both SAS Saldanha and 1 Construction Regiment provide a modified form of basic military training (BMT) for the recruits with the importance of discipline stressed. High on the agenda are drill, leadership, seamanship and time management.

Captain (SAN) Berlinah Madonsela, Officer Commanding SAS Saldanha, is reported as saying her unit “instils skills” the new arrivals “won’t forget” when the welcomed the newcomers to the Western Cape port town.

On completion of ten weeks at the SAN training facility, the NARYSEC recruits move to sectoral skills training by way of TVET (technical and vocational education and training) at, among others, agricultural colleges and “higher learning institutions”. This is followed by “exit opportunities” sourced by DALRRD.

NARYSEC was established in 2010 with the objective of building the capacity of rural youth through various skills development and training. The programme has to date trained nearly 18 000 youth in all nine provinces.