Hout Bay residents’ efforts recognised

Workers received their Natinal Qulaification Framework (NQF) level 1 in ornamental horticulture on Thursday July 18.

Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg residents, who have been helping to rehabilitate Hout Bay’s dunes, have received a qualification in ornamental horticulture.

The City awarded certificates to the 10 dune caretakers earlier this month, saying their training would improve their chances of finding permanent employment.

The dune rehabilitation project is managed by the City’s Coastal Management Branch and covers an area of
50 000m².

The Hout Bay dune rehabilitation project manages movement of dune sand using profiling, wind netting, and planting of dune-specific vegetation.

The ten caretakers were appointed from the Expanded Public Work Programme (EPWP).

“This team has been working on the project for the past 24 months,” said mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt.

“While spending time on the dunes they have learned about wind-net management, maintenance, seed collection, plant propagation, ecology, irrigation management, and fertiliser application. Thanks to the training they now qualify to provide contracted services if opportunities arise for the maintenance of the dune systems in future.”

The skills are recognised as part of the National Qualification Framework. Certification is received at NQF level 1: ornamental horticulture learnership.

Ms Nieuwoudt handed over the certificates to the group on Thursday July 18.

“I am so proud of the immense enthusiasm and dedication shown by this team to have completed the training of the highest standard. It was our intention that this pilot project and training programme would provide those who participated with the necessary skills to apply for employment that requires experienced people with specialized skills in dune and coastal rehabilitation. Future job opportunities could also include working in the horticultural industry and at nurseries, or by subcontracting to bigger companies to do specific dune work or plant propagation,” she said.

For the past three years, Jiovanne Isaacs has been cleaning and maintaining the dunes. He said getting the certificate was a big boost for him.

“It means so much for me to achieve this as I can now go out and find other work, but the major difference is that with this certificate, I am acknowledged as a skilled worker, which allows me to take on contracts.”

He first stumbled upon the dune rehabilitation project when he filled out a job seekers’ form from the City.

“The certificate has put me on the map. I have ambitions to build my own home in Hout Bay for me and my family. I then want to make something out of this certificate instead of letting it go to waste. There are plenty of youngsters in our area that need work, but the key is getting up and going to find that work, because that opportunity will not come to you,” he said.

City contracts have been secured for the workers for the next 18 months. These contracts will also include a NQF level 2 plant production learnership and AET matric, as well as various other short courses for financial planning, life skills and small business enterprise.