Seven hundred and seventeen young South Africans graduated from the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) that finished at SAS Saldanha last month.
The course is part of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s youth leadership development programme and makes use of SA National Defence Force (SANDF) facilities.
Those who came through the Saldanha course started at the NARYSEC College in Thaba Nchu where they underwent orientation and induction, focussing on political education and life skills as well as career information and guidance. This was after leaving their homes in Limpopo, North West, Free State, Gauteng, Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
After orientation the group split with 139 staying at the department’s college in Free State and the other 578 going to the Western Cape naval base.
“Participants who went to Saldanha underwent a stringent development programme with development focused on leadership, teamwork, entrepreneurship, community development and first aid programmes,” a statement said.
Addressing graduates, rural development and land reform deputy minister
Mcebisi Skwatsha, said youth development and employment was a cornerstone of economic transformation and implementation of the NARYSEC was addressing the challenge of unemployment in South Africa.
“NARYSEC is one of the department’s flagship programmes aimed at providing rural young people with appropriate knowledge, skills, values and attitudes which allow them to transform their own lives and those of their families,” he said.
All those who graduated are from what government terms “previously disadvantaged communities” and, according to Skwatsha now have the skills needed to benefit from opportunities created by another department initiative – agri-parks – in terms of starting small business, finding employment and embarking on further studies.