July 2020

Fledgling youth-owned carpentry SMME that exclusively services schools, is finally able to pick up tools again, with the reopening of the education sector. This small Limpopo enterprise will receive training specifically relating to COVID-19 infection control procedures, so that they can re-enter schools in the Makhado Municipality to collect classroom desks to refurbish.

“Safety is very important in this era of COVID-19,” explained Harrisinah Theka, Economic Development Officer for Soutpan Solar Power, who funds this SMME as part of its youth development programme. The programme has helped stimulate local youth employment and a culture of entrepreneurship.

The company is also being assisted with enough PPE for its carpentry interns and employees and before the personnel return back to operations, the operational premises will be fumigated.

The training session will be covering best practices to operate a business during COVID-19, which includes hygiene and sterilizing the workplace and vehicles.

Only in its second year of operations, NNL and Partners felt the burden of lockdown, but were fortunate enough to receive a regular stipend from Soutpan Solar Power, to help them continue with their lives, during the extended shutdown.

“The team needs to be vigilant when collecting and delivering furniture at schools, to avoid unnecessary risk,” added Theka.

The Soutpan Solar Power Carpentry Graduate Programme that kicked off in January 2019, was inspired by the need to help provide work opportunities for graduates, coupled with the need for better school furniture.  By marrying these needs a value chain has been set up that is opening doors for young community members in the Blouberg Municipality. The programme supports carpentry graduate interns that are provided with a monthly stipend, and have a 12-month work contract, following which a new group of graduates will fill their shoes.  The thinking behind the annual intake of graduates is to help prepare these youths for future careers, build their self-esteem and stimulate a culture of entrepreneurship.