Employment and entrepreneurial opportunities through education for the disabled

More than 100 KwaZulu-Natal women with disabilities will be equipped with skills in either Early Childhood Development or clothing manufacturing through two learnership programmes offered by The Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA).

The programmes were officially launched on Friday at Uvongo Town Hall and will be expanded to the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga.

One of the beneficiaries of the programme, Nompilo Mhlongo from Ntuzuma, who is partially deaf, said she had challenges finding work, and after she did get a job was forced to resign due to her disability.

“When I eventually did find a job at a call centre, I ended up resigning as I could not communicate well with customers. I was excited when I found out about the learnerships and the opportunities that accompany them. I’m going to be doing Early Childhood Development. I have a passion for working with children. The learnership can help me pursue my dream of becoming a teacher, and leaves me with an opportunity of also opening my own Early Childhood Development centre one day.”

HWSETA CEO Elaine Brass and Umzumbe councillor Smangele Dlamini together with three of the learners. Supplied

Speakers at the launch included HWSETA’s partners, as well as those from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and UCT.

The authority’s CEO Elaine Brass said the launch of the programmes was in support of women as well as women with disabilities.

She said through the Early Childhood Development learnership, beneficiaries would obtain an NQ4 qualification.

“Once learners have completed, they will be able to have a formal qualification at an NQ Level Four, which will allow them to be pre-school teachers, crèche teachers, as well as an opportunity for them to open up their own ECD centres. Ninety women with disabilities are enrolled in this particular programme.”

Brass said there were 29 women and 21 men living with disabilities who would be enrolled in the clothing and manufacturing learnership.

“It is a certificate which has both theory and practical components to it. It also touches on subjects around business and time management, which puts them in a position where they can be entrepreneurs,” she said.

Brass said the authority took care of the sectors of health and social development and veterinary science in the economy, and in terms of this it had certain targets relating to women.

From left, Sivalingum Moodley research consultant, Noninzi Sobhuza from ELET, HWSETA CEO Elaine Brass, Umzumbe councillor Smangele Dlamini, Jabu Khoza chief director rural and inclusive education at KZN Department of Education, Professor Angela James from UKZN, Lungile Ncikazi, KZN provincial manager for HWSETA, Nomali Magwaza from Department of Basic Education and Thandi Hinkelamn from Black Sash. Supplied

“In fact, we set out to achieve 65% of our programmes to support women, and in the last financial year, we exceeded that and supported 74% of women across all our programmes. What is most important to us is to ensure access and opportunities for all people, and hence we have targets for people with disabilities. Last year, our target was to support 5% of people with disabilities across our programmes, and ended up supporting 6%,” she said.

“This year, once again we wanted to have specific interventions to ensure we can give people with disabilities access and opportunity to skills and education.”



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