Over a dozen trainees studying at the Berg Aukas Youth Skills Training Centre in Grootfontein are accusing the government of pushing them out of their training programmes in order to cater for 1 000 children of the liberation struggle, also known as ‘struggle kids’.
The trainees, who have not received instruction for three months now, are claiming they were simply told to leave the centre and return next year to complete their training, a delay which has antagonised and infuriated their parents.
This means that the trainees who had to complete their programmes by November this year are now a burden on their families as they cannot look for work with a delayed qualification.
However, the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, under which the programme resorts, says that is not the case and that the ministry has extended the job attachment period of trainees.
The ‘struggle kids’ have over recent years proved to be a thorn in the flesh of government with their demands for employment in the civil service, army and police.
Government was caught unprepared when documents were leaked that it had in fact released N$11 million for the training of the ‘struggle kids’ at Berg Aukas in different trades such as motor mechanics, hairdressing and bricklaying.
“We had to go on job attachment and we were informed that if we do not succeed in securing the job attachment we should return to the centre and other arrangements would be made,” said one of the trainees who is known to New Era.
“After a month of trying some of us returned to school and it was after a month that we were informed there will be a meeting to give us direction on what we are to do next in completing our training.”
According to another trainee who has seemingly lost all hope, it was after this announcement that they saw cleaners at the centre cleaning their dormitories. The cleaners told them to leave as new intakes were coming soon, the trainee claimed.
“When we asked the centre director what was going on, he told us that we should just go back to our homes and come back next year. We did not know what to tell our parents and families,” the trainee explained.
“We only learned recently that the ‘struggle kids’ have been there. It appears as if they took our places and we were pushed out onto the streets without completing our programmes.”
“We really do not care who is trained there – in fact, we are happy that our fellow unemployed youth are getting an opportunity to get a skills upgrade and to contribute to the economy, but we do not see why we have to be the sacrificial lambs.”
The head of the centre, Christoph Kakuizike, referred all queries to the youth ministry where chief youth officer of training and employment, Yul Andrew, simply said: “Our trainees were and are on job attachment. All I was informed is that we extended the job attachment period.”