Jewellers' Network

Jobshop – SA’s First Free Artisanal Training Centre


Job creation and enterprise development through the Jobshop’s training facility in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga.

Pretoria, 22 August 2017:  From a single idea in 1998 to a national network of grassroots development projects across the country in 2009, Vukani-Ubuntu Community Development Projects represents a victory of cooperative spirit that welled up from the desire to improve life for the previously disadvantaged communities.

Vukani-Ubuntu, an award-winning non-profit organisation, proudly boasts 13 successful community development projects over 5 provinces in South Africa and has trained over 2000 people in the Jewellery and Artisanal sectors – all thanks to the R120 million in funding received through international and local donors.

“Our success is directly linked to the ethos behind our mission statement and name: Vukani-Ubuntu! Which is loosely translated as a call to action for Humanity to wake up and take action against helplessness and poverty, and realise the end goal of reliance and prosperity.  From dust to gold, our name conveys hope and inspires change.” Demos Takoulas (CEO Vukani Ubuntu)

Training, Skills Development and Job Creation

Vukani-Ubuntu’s flagship project, the Jobshop, is South Africa’s first free artisanal training centre. It was conceived as a project to help alleviate the shortage of critical and scarce artisanal skills in South Africa while accommodating the placement of trained and up skilled work-seekers.

Currently, the project is based in Mpumalanga, and there are future plans to expand across the country using the ‘world model of sustainable development’ – a model that has been tried and tested at the site, and proves to work because it consists of a broad spectrum of international and local stakeholders, ranging from universities and corporates to NGO’s and communities.

This model focuses on collaboration and its success is directly linked to the NGO sector’s drive for effectiveness and efficiency, government policy and public opinion, as it serves as a springboard for synergy between all stakeholders.

The Jobshop training facility in eMalahleni (Witbank) is now an R20 000 000 project due to funds received from the IDC, EU, AECI, merSETA and Vukani-Ubuntu respectively.

This funding has helped establish significant milestones, allowing the facility to operate successfully, while directly benefiting the local unemployed grass-root community members by offering them the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to successfully find work in the Mining, Engineering and Manufacturing industries.

These community members/students fall under our target group of Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDI) which is defined as a South African citizen who, due to the apartheid policy, had no voting rights and/or who is a woman, and/or who have a disability; and it is these members of society that the Jobshop project has been conceived to directly impact.

As it stands, this unique facility allows for a multiple of educational and empowerment resources through the channels of Recognition of Prior Learning Certificates, Skills Development and Training, Job Placement and a Business Incubator for SMMEs.

To date, our current statistics indicate that the Jobshop can place about 40% of sector-specific job seekers directly into available jobs – provided they are assessed, graded and linked directly with job-providers.

Hence our training programme is streamlined to provide job-placement assistance to about 600 job-seekers over a specific time frame. The Learnership/Apprenticeship programme of 2017 has yielded high-impact success by placing 95% of 22 apprentice trainees into further employment.

So far in 2017 alone, the Jobshop has taken in 101 students for the Skills Development and Training programmes, and of these students, 38 have been placed to date; and of the total amount students walking through our doors for all educational streams, 163 were females – a great statistic for a primarily male-dominated industry.

Of the Jobshop’s leading programmes, The Recognition of Prior Learning assessment facility has proven to be the most fruitful with 651 students receiving RPL certificates this year alone.

The facility has been flagged as South Africa’s biggest RPL Centre and is free to all members of the public. It works by allowing artisans who are familiar with areas of electrical, welding, boiler-making and HVAC (heating, ventilation & air-conditioning) – to sign up at the Jobshop Training Centre and undergo the RPL assessment and training process. Once complete, these students will receive a certificate of completion, which acknowledges their previous training acquired and competencies and skills in the various sector streams. This certificate acts as a key to unlocking further doors, as it equips students with the credentials to seek employment or to enrol in further studies.

In addition to the RPL system, the Jobshop offers Skills Development Courses. These courses, accredited by merSETA, run for a 3-month period and cover the following streams: Welding, Hoisting & Rigging, Electrical, Boiler-making, and HVAC.

What makes this community development project worthwhile is its sustainable model for development, allowing communities to grow socially and economically, thus forming an ever-growing feeding ground for new talent and skills, having a positive outcome on businesses and the industry in the region in conjunction with the Jobshop, as well as covering Local Economic Development targets identified by Government and the local municipality.  

The jobshop – a non-profit project of Vukani-Ubuntu

15 Melodie St, Klarinet, Emalahleni, Mpumalanga
Phone Number: 013 656 2126 / 013 656 1799