Dealing with casual job seekers' plight


CASUAL job seekers who wait along the R72 and at the Royal Alfred Marina entrance will benefit from the launch of a skills development programme in Port Alfred this week.

About 50 male job seekers from various parts of Nemato wait in small groups along Albany Road from Pascoe Crescent to the marina entrance every day, in hope of getting work on a building site, or gardening or some other work that will put bread on the table.

Often they return home empty-handed.

They told TotT their skills range from plumbers to carpenters, and gardeners to painters.

BECOMING MORE EMPLOYABLE: A new job and skills development centre was launched this week to help provide employment to casual job seekers in Port Alfred. With some of the job seekers, are centre volunteers Jane Cowley (third from right) and Lynne Nettelton (second from right) PICTURE: SIPHELELE NDZAMELA
Plans were set in motion last year to establish a job centre for these men, after marina residents and neighbours complained about the men loitering in the area.

Local resident Jane Cowley spearheaded the project, and received permission from the municipality to be able to make use of the former Home Affairs building.

Cowley said it would be a more suitable and safer location for contractors and other employers to pick up workers.

"Instead of them sitting there, they will be picked up from the old Home Affairs offices,” she said.

"The aim is to at least get them a part-time job and maybe later, a full-time job,” she added.

Cowley and another volunteer, Lynne Nettelton, met with the job seekers on Tuesday to brief them on what the programme is about.

Each employer will be encouraged to fill out a rating sheet that will rate the service of the person they have hired and bring it back when the job has been completed.

Through the rating sheet it would be much easier for them to get recommended by others to do a particular job.

Cowley said those not collected on any given day will be taught gardening and food security skills, as well as woodwork skills.

Small jobs for the public such as sanding down furniture or painting, can be done in the mornings between 8am and 12 noon for a fee.

The initial plan is that from Monday there will be no more people standing in front of marina entrance.

Bad behaviour, such as stealing and coming to work drunk, as well as bad-mouthing other job seekers so they will not be picked was also addressed.

It was agreed that such offences would not be tolerated.

Collectively the jobs seekers agreed they are in need of jobs and would also like to show the people that take them to work in their homes how serious they are.

With the help of Mluleki Ncapayi, special programmes officer at Ndlambe municipality, it was decided to name the project Sikhulise.

The job seekers will also be provided with soup to eat during the day.

They will have to provide their ID so that a copy can be made and filed.

They were also encouraged to bring any relevant certificates for their specialising field so these could be used for job recruitment for any of the local hardware stores.

"There will be a bank account opened and job seekers will be expected to make a small contribution towards the admin costs,” said Ncapayi.

They are also hoping to attract local businesses in sponsoring this initiative.