Bergzicht Training and Development, a skill development NGO in Stellenbosch, recently celebrated all it has achieved in nearly three decades of empowering unemployed, unskilled and semi-skilled individuals with market-related skills. The organisation was established in 1992 and celebrates its 27thanniversary this year.

The founder of Bergzicht Training and Development, Ms Cecile Kotzé, as well as one of the first persons to send beneficiaries to be trained in the iPOWER (Self-Empowering) Foundation Programme in 1992, Ms Louisa Breugem, were there to celebrate the day and enjoy some cake with staff and beneficiaries attending class on the day.

“Thanks to Ms Cecile Kotzé sowing the first seeds to establish Bergzicht Training and Development in 1992, we have been able to watch many of our beneficiaries grow into trees. We have not only seen how the training provided here has impacted on the lives of our beneficiaries, but also on their families,” said Mr Adrian Bezuidenhout, Training Manager at Bergzicht Training and Development.

“However, our beneficiaries are also our partners, who work with us on their development, impacting on our lives while bringing all their talents and energy to this place every day.”

Reminiscing about those first days at Bergzicht Training and Development 27 years ago, Kotzésaid: “I still can’t believe that it was 27 years ago that 20 people walked through those gates after we had gone to the taxi rank next to our building and told people we were going to offer skills development training to unemployed people and help them find employment.”

In 2018, the NGO trained 207 beneficiaries in the iPOWER Programme, with 150 of those beneficiaries advancing to its advance programmes in Health and Frail Care, Food Service Assistant and Food and Beverage Service, and Child Care. This is far beyond the 20 beneficiaries that the organisation enrolled when it first opened its doors in 1992. Last year, Bergzicht Training and Development also ensured that 82% of its students available for placement found employed.

“It brings me great joy to see that the organisation still works towards those goals we had in 1992. Thank you too for choosing Bergzicht Training and Development as the place to further your education,” she said to the beneficiaries.

Reflecting on the many stories shared on the day, Bezuidenhout said: “Bergzicht Training and Development may look small, but today’s stories show just how much we have achieved. There is no doubt that we punch way above our weight.”

Photo: It’s been nearly three decades since Bergzicht Training and Development first opened its doors to unemployed, unskilled and semi-skilled individuals from poor communities. From the left Thobeka Noibhoma, Nomabali Mabandla, Seithati Leqwela, Noxolo Gqola, Shirley-Ann Hutting and Ntutheng Motsoana celebrated the day with staff, fellow beneficiaries and the founder of Bergzicht Training and Development, Ms Cecile Kotzé (second from the left). (Lynne Rippenaar-Moses)