[Mossel Bay, South Africa, 23 July 2019] #ActionAgainstPoverty was a significant theme behind The Garden Route Careers Exhibition, which took place on 22 July 2019 at the Port of Mossel Bay in commemoration of Nelson Mandela Month.
With job creation and fair access to employment opportunities serving as primary ways in which to tackle poverty, Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) together with partners Nestlé South Africa and the Mossel Bay Municipality Bay called upon more than 30 public and private exhibitors to directly interact with attendees and showcase their career, study and bursary opportunities to more than 700 grade 9 to 12 youth and the Garden Route community. High schools in attendance included Sao Bras Secondary, Hillcrest Secondary, Point High, Groot-Brakrivier Secondary, Indwe Secondary and South Cape College.
Speaking at the expo launch, Port of Mossel Bay Harbour Master, Captain Vania Cloete, acknowledged the country’s high unemployment rate and how difficult it was for many South Africans, particularly the previously disadvantaged youth, to access opportunities in tough economic climate. “We as TNPA know that we cannot take action against poverty without creating jobs and enabling people to access economic opportunities. People need platforms like the Garden Route Careers Exhibition to give them access to potential employers and job opportunities,” said Cloete, adding that the exhibition was also part of TNPA’s CSI activities geared toward promoting awareness of port activities, and career and business opportunities offered by the maritime industry.
Port Manager, Shadrack Tshikalange, offered words of encouragement to the youth during his address. “Young people, it is important to have an idea of the path you want to take. Your presence here today is a first step in figuring out possible routes to explore in your future life and career. As learners you need to make yourselves attractive to employers and desirable in a competitive marketplace,” he said. “That means, gaining qualifications and skills to better enable you to find jobs. I also want to encourage you not to view your circumstances as a deterrent. Economic hardship can be a stumbling block, but it can also be a stepping stone if you are willing to dig deeper and work harder to overcome these personal challenges and put in the work to seek out opportunities.”
Tshikalange added that companies also have to make an equal effort to attract the best learners and graduates, and to spread opportunities to all levels of society. “This is why programmes like graduate recruitment initiatives, bursaries, workplace experience programmes and Young Person in Training initiatives are in place in a number of companies, including Transnet. And career exhibitions like this one, put companies in touch with a pool of potential talent, while also showcasing information and opportunities related to careers, bursaries, employment, mentorship, graduate recruitment, internships, training and skills development,” Tshikalange said.
He thanked partners, Nestlé South Africa and the Mossel Bay Municipality Bay, as well as exhibitors including the likes of the South African Police Services, Franscois Ferreira Academy, Unisa, GCIS, Garden Route District Municipality, UNISA, City Varsity, Afrishore, Nicore, Afriskills Private College, Eta College and PetroMarine, for their support in ensuring the event’s success.
The careers expo was just one event in which TNPA commemorated Nelson Mandela Month in the Garden Route District. On Mandela Day the port was involved in the launch of a Literacy Centre at Isalathiso Primary, one of TNPA’s adopted primary schools, which was made possible through a collaboration between TNPA, Heart-to- Heart Care Centre and Shine Literacy. To promote literacy, TNPA employees volunteered to teach children how to read, and the Port of Mossel Bay donated much needed stationery for the new centre.
At the end of the month the port will also be handing over two Smart Boards to Great Brak Secondary School along with sanitary pads collected at the recent Port of Mossel Bay Charity Fishing competition which raised R7000 and 200 packs of pads. Nationally, TNPA encouraged employees who volunteer for causes in their personal time, to nominate organisations they wish to support through the company’s Mandela Day activities. Charitable causes that benefitted ranged from youth centres, schools, children’s and old age homes, to palliative care organisations, informal settlements and more.