The Engen Computer School is firmly focused on resuming classes when the national lockdown ends, ensuring that the first intake of 2020 students graduate and are afforded an opportunity to follow the shining example of two recent graduates of the course. Classes were halted in late March when government announced the national lockdown, leaving the first class of the year six weeks short of completion of their studies.
“The skills training will continue as soon as classes are allowed to convene again to ensure that the 80 students who started their studies on 18 January graduate,” says Unathi Magida, Engen’s manager of Transformation and Stakeholder Engagement. “With already high levels of unemployment and further expected impact on the jobs market in a post-Covid-19 world, we believe that upskilling is of paramount importance in order to boost one’s chances of securing employment.” Over the past decade, Engen’s free computer skills training school has transformed many lives in South Durban, with over 2 000 graduates having their prospects of finding employment positively enhanced in that time. The Engen Computer School offers three four-month courses per annum, each accommodating 80 people, with Engen investing approximately R15 000 per student to attend the course. Ayanda Khambule and Precious Shezi, who both graduated in 2019, are shining examples of the benefits what formal computer training can bring.
According to Sheryl Casalis, course convener and training director of Added Advantage Academy, Ayanda and Precious were working part-time at the Oxford grocery store on the Bluff while studying at the Engen Computer School in 2019. Both have since secured full-time positions at the store as supervisors. “I was delighted when they confirmed that the many skills that they learnt at the Centre equipped them to complete the administrative tasks that they now do in the back office,” says Casalis. “With over 2 000 graduates over the past 10 years, the Engen Computer School has given each student the knowledge and confidence to go out and seek jobs that would otherwise never have been possible.”
The Engen Computer School offers South Durban residents introductory-level computer skills training, covering 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. The Engen Computer Centre is well known in South Durban and almost always has a waiting list of people wanting to upskill themselves. Adds Magida: “As a caring and responsible company, Engen is both proud and humbled to play a small role in positively changing lives of community members who reside in an area close to the Engen Refinery.
“With high-levels of poverty and unemployment in South Africa, Engen is cognisant of the fact that corporates need to support government to provide sustainable solutions. “As such, Engen is committed to stepping up and doing the right thing, starting with paying special attention to the people in the communities in which we operate.”