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Education And Training

Newly-launched entrepreneurship hub in Johannesburg township flourishes

Since recently opening, the Netcare Ulusha Hub in Alexandra, Johannesburg has three small businesses incubated, 38 young people employed, and in excess of 3,000 job seeking youths enrolled on the Yes4Youth programme. The hub was collaboratively developed by Netcare and the Youth Employment Service (Yes) and is located at Alex Mall. The Netcare Ulusha Hub has the specific goal of addressing barriers to sustainable entrepreneurship growth in townships, skills development and youth employment.

“Youth who register with the Yes enrolment centre at the hub are offered assessment, training, ideas for careers or new businesses, work opportunities, access to networks, markets, and the necessary partner support to bring it to fruition,” says Dr Nceba Ndzwayiba, director: HR and transformation of Netcare.

Each person who registers is invited to play a series of games called SkillsCraft, an assessment tool designed to profile their interests, aptitude, abilities and strengths and potential career pathways.

“The games format of these skills assessments helps to eliminate the stress of conventional skills tests that may impede a young person’s optimal performance and creates an electronic profile of the work seeker’s strengths. Yes then uses the profile to identify potential career pathways and help link each individual with suitably matched opportunities,” explains Dr Tashmia Ismail, chief executive of Yes.

These electronic skills profiles are used by the Yes enrolment centre when businesses have vacancies, to identify the job seekers who have the required abilities, and to place them accordingly in quality work experiences.

In addition to the services offered through the Yes enrolment centre, the following facilities are currently housed at the hub:

Hluvuko Designs textile manufacturing facility: One of the anchor tenants of the Netcare Ulusha Hub is Hluvuko Designs, a women-owned social enterprise co-operative led by managing director, Ponani Shikweni. The textile manufacturing and training facility works with local seamstresses to produce items, mainly for the corporate market

Future Prints 3D printing lab: One of the aims of the hub is to equip young people with the skills needed for the fourth industrial revolution. To this end, the on-site 3D lab fitted out and run by Termite Labs as the programme partner and funded by Air Liquide, will train youth to work with these high-tech systems.

Tastemakers culinary academy and restaurant: Tastemakers is a culinary academy and restaurant that is run by Wakanda as the programme partner. Wakanda provides chef and catering training for enrolled participants and will incubate new businesses that want to operate within the hospitality industry. This restaurant and culinary academy module also offer community nutrition classes aimed at improving health within the wider Alexandra community.

Ceramics training and production centre: Phase 1 of the R6.5m hub will also include a pottery and ceramics training and production centre, run by Nyati Creations to develop local artistic talent. The facility is planned to open later this year.

Future expansion

A drone academy, creative hub, digital lab, and business centre will form part of the Phase 2 development of the hub that will be developed by Yes in collaboration with other corporates.

“The potential of unemployed young people remains a largely untapped resource. The Netcare Ulusha Hub offers the youth in Alexandra numerous opportunities for learning new skills and crafts that will equip them to start and grow their own businesses and in time create further employment in the community or become marketable to employers. With these opportunities now available to them, we are looking forward to seeing young people in Alexandra developing skillsets they might never have imagined and taking up new careers,” says Dr Ndzwayiba.

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