In the early 1990’s, research conducted in the Western Cape at the time revealed that illiteracy, poverty and unemployment were the greatest socio-economic problems facing communities in the region.
On 6 March 1992, after witnessing the inability of many social development programmes to effectively break the cycle of poverty in disadvantaged communities in South Africa, Bergzicht Training was opened by founders Cecile Kotzé and Minnie van der Merwe to counteract this negative result. Supported by volunteers, Kotzé and Van der Merwe would start offering the NGO’s first skills development programmes in Home Management, Frail Care, Edu Care, Cater Care as well as a literacy course to unemployed persons in the Western Cape.
Determined to offer students more than just skills development, they would also establish an in-house Placement Bureau at Bergzicht Training which would assist our graduates to find permanent employment upon completion of our courses and programmes. In 2013, an Employability Skills course was also introduced to prepare students for the world of work and to ensure that those who were not absorbed into the labour market would still be able to pursue micro and small business opportunities.
Over the years, our Placement Bureau has allowed us to place 76% of the over 10 000
students we have trained to date, demonstrating that well-trained individuals can
access job opportunities even in a depressed labour market.
More than two decades later, Kotzé and Van der Merwe’s vision continues to form the foundation of the work we do at Bergzicht Training and is one of the reasons we are still going strong today.