Kuruman learnerships provide life-changing skills and opportunities

Kuruman residents Victor Tshekedi and Mathapelo Seichokelo both live with disabilities.
Consequently, they have found it impossible to obtain ongoing work and up until six months
ago, they had both given up hope of ever being able to support themselves or their families.

However, all of that changed as a result of an innovative learnership solution provided by
EduPower Skills Academy for Assmang Manganese Black Rock Mine, and the lives of these two
individuals and 38 others living with disabilities, have been transformed.

A paraplegic since the age of five when he fell from a donkey cart, Victor says there are simply
no opportunities for locals in the mining town. “We are the most forgotten society in South

Mathapelo agrees and had given up looking for employment. A bilateral amputee who lost both
her legs when she was injured in a car accident, she says that while her family have been very
supportive, it was hard on all of them when she couldn’t find work. “Sitting at home with no
income is very difficult and it makes you depressed and stressed. I have qualifications in
Ancillary Nursing and a Management Assistant NQF Level 5 but when I applied for jobs, I would
go for interviews without any success. I didn’t think I would ever work again.”

The Assmang learnerships, however, have forever changed their fortunes along with those of
38 others. Victor and Mathapelo were part of an intake of 40 learners who were selected for an
innovative, forward-thinking learnership programme. This bespoke solution has been
developed by EduPower for the mining company in support of its efforts to use its Community
Development contribution to generate meaningful job creation and socio-economic
advancement in the region.

In August of last year, Edupower, working together with Assmang and the community, opened
a training facility equipped with classrooms and a contact centre in Kuruman. The group of
learners – all of whom are people with disabilities – are now more than six months into their
Contact Centre NQF Level 3 learnership. However, what sets this model apart is that at the end
of the programme, all the learners are guaranteed full-time employment as contact centre

“This learnership will change my life because it will enable me to get long-term employment,”
says Victor. “I am learning so much and I will use this to help grow the organisation I am
currently involved with.” He adds that he has learnt many new practical skills but his communication and listening skills have improved the most. He has also enjoyed learning how
to solve customer problems, analyse data and resolve conflict.

Mathapelo says that she applied for the learnership as she saw it as an opportunity to learn
new skills, particularly about contact centre operations. Now halfway through the programme,
she says she looks forward to the practical experience every day as it gives her the opportunity
to apply her mind in the workplace.

“The new skills that I am learning are giving me the ability to go into several different fields.
Because of this, I have succeeded in moving forward,” says Mataphelo. “EduPower and
Assmang have given me the strength and hope to get out there and find employment and I am
very grateful.”

Based on the growth already displayed by this first group of learners – including the new skills
that are being developed – there are exciting times ahead for the Kuruman community. The
pilot is proving so successful that the partnership between EduPower and Assmang looks
certain to provide many more opportunities for young adults in the area.

Stay informed

Get our monthly email guide for the latest B-BBEE thought leadership articles, reports and analysis.