Start of a new chapter

Participants of the IT programme are, from left, Denver Potgieter, Leharn Swarts, Justice Mope, Basimane Molete, Nkosinathi Vundla, and Jason Spilsbury.

Seven people using the City of Cape Town’s Culemborg Safe Space for the homeless attended a three-day IT training programme at Central library last week.

The programme was specifically adapted to help them learn basic computer skills and boost their chances of finding work.

The Mayco member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith, said the City had a number of initiatives under way to promote and facilitate adult learning.

These programmes are aimed at equipping individuals for the workplace.

“In the age that we live in, some kind of computer know-how is essential to landing a job, and accessing job opportunities. Many application processes are online, so individuals need to be able to navigate that space. This initiative is therefore critical and I encourage more opportunities of this nature.”

He said libraries have public workstations that are available to all, so access to the technology is already there.

Kabelo Molefe, one of the training participants, applied for numerous jobs during the week.

When he opened his email two days later, he had received two responses inviting him for interviews as a salesman.

He was immensely grateful that he had learnt to put together a CV and cover letter, and was surprised by the quick response.

The training programme included an introduction to computers, guidance on compiling a CV and cover letter, preparing a budget spreadsheet, an introduction to the internet, cyber-security advice and guidance on applying for jobs.

The Mayco member for corporate services, Sharon Cottle, said literacy programmes with proper training for adults can help street people access opportunities that could lead to reintegration into society.

“This programme focuses on bridging the digital divide between those who have access to computers and those who do not. Digital inclusion involves not only access to computers but also the capability and the necessary skills including the knowledge and confidence to use them.”

One of the participants, Nkosinathi Vundla, has been on the streets for a year and started using the safe space in October.

He said he will use the knowledge learnt at the workshop to uplift himself.

“I will use the skills to send my CV to companies I wish to work for, and also use the internet to search for jobs. I also want to empower others and help them make CVs.”

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