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Swellendam community upskilled through Corobrik bricklaying programme

Corobrik’s dedication to improving the lives of disadvantaged community members through training programmes continues to grow with the implementation of a nine-week bricklayer course. Twelve  Swellendam community members completed the training course, empowered with skills for suitable employment in the construction industry.

“We have been successfully running a number of NQF-level bricklayer training courses out of our three training centres at Avoca, Lansdowne and Lawley for a number of years now with fantastic results achieved,” said Christie van Niekerk, Corobrik Manager, Western Cape. “In our continuous effort to meet the needs of these community members, we recently introduced the nine-week bricklayer programme which is specifically aimed at creating employment opportunities for local residents by enhancing the public facilities at small, rural towns.”

The Western Cape training centre, headed by Ismail Rothman, Corobrik Building Training Coordinator, is a  not-for-profit with attendees sponsored by various organisations such as the Swellendam Tourism Economic Empowerment Partnership (STEEP). 

STEEP is a project implemented by the Swellendam Tourism Organisation (STO) in partnership with the Jobs Fund, Swellendam Municipality, Western Cape Provincial Government, WESGRO and others. The three-year project, which started in January 2015, aims to create jobs, provide skills’ training and unlock new enterprise opportunities to the benefit of the disadvantaged communities of the Swellendam municipal area.  A further goal is growing and sustaining the local tourism and related economies through enhanced destination marketing and management. There is particular focus on improving the lives of women, the youth, the disabled, the elderly and those who have never had employment.

The 12 candidates sponsored for the training programme all came from the Suurbraak, Buffeljagsrivier and Railton communities. They were taught bricklaying practices, as well as life skills, to enable them to establish their own businesses.  On completion, all received a Certificate of Achievement. 

Swellendam is a popular tourist attraction, so the graduates will be able to build braais and other public-use facilities in and around the area. 

Farouk Davids, skills’ training co-ordinator of STEEP, said “the key considerations in the selection process were people interested in bricklaying with some experience in the building and construction environment.  They were looking to become part of a skilled workforce and were willing to work  hard.”

STEEP also works to engage the trainees in meaningful employment following the training process. 

“During the training, we work with local construction and the building industry about possible employment opportunities,” he said. “A highlight was co-ordinating a local building and construction industry forum where the trainees were introduced. We are continuing discussions with construction companies that expressed willingness to provide job opportunities.”

CAPTION: Participants of the Swellendam Tourism Economic Empowerment Partnership learn useful bricklaying skills at Corobrik’s training centre.  Vanessa Faro lays bricks across the top of a window opening.