Youth at Risk Choose Education Over Gangsterism
Media Release by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
It gives me great pleasure today to share with the public the preliminary enrolment figures from the Northlink College and Department of Community Safety partnership, which shows that the vulnerable and unemployed youth in our crime-affected communities are eager to be educated and are seeking opportunities to live lives that they value.
As a direct result of the bursary application and public information sessions held for the youth-at-risk in crime affected communities across the Western Cape, the preliminary figures from Northlink College show that at least 126 students have enrolled for post-matric studies. This is a clear message that our youth do not want to be gangsters, they do not want to turn to a life of crime and, when given the opportunity to improve their lives, they are grabbing it with both hands.
Once a more thorough assessment is completed we will have more information on the number of students enrolled as a result of these public information and bursary application sessions, as the youth do not always enrol in the community in which they live (different courses are offered at different campuses).
Some of the areas in which we have held these workshops to link unemployed youth with learning opportunities include Nyanga, Lavender Hill, Worcester, Atlantis, Ottery, Robertson, Mannenberg and Ashton.
I am also pleased to see that the majority (72%) of youth-at-risk who have taken advantage of this opportunity are young men, a group most vulnerable to become victims of murder and involved in gangsterism and crime.
It is also very encouraging to note that engineering has been identified as the programme of choice for the youth, with two-thirds (77 out of the 126) of new students choosing to challenge themselves and learn much-needed engineering skills so that they can have careers of which they can be proud. Another 16 have decided that they want to learn business skills and I look forward to seeing the positive impact they will have on the Western Cape economy.
I am proud of these 126 young men and women and will carry on hosting these public information and bursary application information sessions where they are most needed.
I would like to thank Northlink College for their hard work and travelling around the Western Cape with me and for making these opportunities available. There is no doubt that this partnership has been a tremendous success.
Rene Bonzet, Head of Department: Communication, Marketing and Advancement at Northlink College said, “We are truly encouraged by these numbers and trust that this partnership with the department will continue to improve the lives of the youth at risk. It is important to note that these numbers will possibly still increase as a result of the July and August registrations of 2013.”
Spokesperson for Minister Dan Plato
Cell: 072 623 4499