The Engen Computer School in Wentworth held a graduation ceremony in Austerville on 22 May where 67 proud community members received certificates for completing an end user computing course.
Over the past decade, Engen’s free computer skills training school has transformed many lives in South Durban. To date 1 982 students have gained knowledge and confidence to go out and seek jobs that would otherwise never have been possible. Graduate Patricia Taylor made a speech at the awards ceremony at the Blue Roof Life Space and thanked Engen and Added Advantage Academy for the opportunity to learn new skills. “You have given us a ladder which we will continue to climb in order to reach greater heights.
I would like to thank you for giving not only the Wentworth Community this wonderful opportunity but also people from neighboring areas.” The Engen Computer School offers South Durban residents introductory-level computer skills training, which cover eight units of the National Certificate: Information Technology: End User Computing qualification. To enrol, applicants must be unemployed school-leavers and reside in South Durban.
While matric and age criteria are not prescribed, most students who attend the school are aged from 20 to 40. According to Sheryl Casalis, training director of Added Advantage Academy who have provided the training since 2009, three four-month courses are offered per annum, each accommodating 80 people. Engen invests approximately R15 000 per student to attend the course.
While statistics are incomplete due to the difficulty of keeping track of everyone who graduates, Casalis believes that over the past two years many students have secured jobs or been accepted into learnership programmes after completing the course. “From the 2018 group, 16 students found jobs after their training, four of which are self-employed and six entered into learnerships.
“The competency rate for students is between 94% and 99% by the time they complete the course,” adds Casalis. “Upon graduation they are computer literate individuals able to work independently using the most common computer programmes utilised in offices today.”
The second course for 2019 commenced on 6 May and has 78 attendees. Engen’s Corporate Social Investment Manager, Adhila Hamdulay says the Engen Computer Centre is well known and almost always has a waiting list of people wanting to upskill themselves. Hamdulay says Engen is both proud and humbled to play a small role in changing lives in South Durban, where the Engen Refinery is located.
“With poverty and unemployment rife in South Africa, Engen is cognisant of the fact that the government cannot be relied on to provide solutions alone,” says Hamdulay. “As such, we are committed to stepping up and doing the right thing, starting with paying special attention to the people in the communities in which we operate,” she adds.