MRP Foundation prepares graduates to succeed in retail

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Hard work pays off: Graduates from the 2019 Production Programme and Introduction to Retailing Programme celebrate their achievements at the Breakers Hotel in Umhlanga. Picture: MRP Foundation/Tim Lubbe

Today’s youth have to be well prepared for their first job, a task MRP Foundation is tackling through work readiness programmes that develop skills for the retail and supply chain industries.
On March 8, an excited group of young graduates from Labora Shoes (Chatsworth) and Celrose Clothing (Tongaat) celebrated their newly-developed workplace skills at the Breakers Hotel in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, with 76 youth graduating from the production programme.
Nine young people graduated from the Introduction to Retailing Programme.
Developed by industry, for industry, MRP Foundation works closely with industry and employer partners to train unemployed youth in critical skills for retail and supply chain opportunities.
Graduates become well-versed in both theory and practice, giving them a jump start in their careers.
At the joyful occasion, Karen Wells, head of MRP Foundation, congratulated the graduates on their achievements, encouraging them to take hold of this opportunity, before wishing them well for the future.
“The working world may be different from what you initially thought but building a career is about getting up in the morning and making a choice to use every day as an opportunity to learn and grow. There are so many opportunities in retail and manufacturing but you need to embrace that first opportunity. This is not the end of your journey, it’s the start,” she said.
Twenty-eight-year-old Nomcebo Zuma, from Umlazi, was one of the nine young people to graduate from the first-ever Introduction to Retailing Programme.
The new six-month retail course develops workplace skills and is geared towards participants who need an entry point into retail.
It combines the Introduction to Retailing Course offered by Unisa along with invaluable real-world experience gained through working in stores.
Three graduates, including Nomcebo, have already found employment. Nomcebo shared her learnings from the programme saying, “I am honoured to be here and celebrate our achievements. Thank you everybody for grooming us. We must set goals, know where we are going, not point fingers and be positive in order to succeed. Our attitude will determine our future.”

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Another graduate, 25-year-old, Nokubonga Makhoba from Tongaat, was unemployed for five years before joining the Production Programme.
The five-month course develops graduates for positions as multi-skilled seamstresses or footwear manufacturers, training youth in basic production and manufacturing concepts.
Since the course started in 2014, 956 production candidates have been trained with an 80 percent employment rate.
Nokubonga shared her internship experience at the graduation saying, “We learnt about the clothing industry, how to conduct ourselves in the work environment and how to operate different machines. Thank you to the MRP Foundation, together with Celrose, for this opportunity. One day we would like to grow further, maybe study, or go into management.”
Of the 76 production graduates, an incredible 93 percent found employment in local manufacturing firms. One of these local manufacturing firms is Celrose.
Devi Valoo, training manager from Celrose, was extremely proud of the production graduates she had trained for the past six months.
“It is such a pleasure to train people and to see them accomplish their goals. The five months of training were challenging but today it was exciting to see everyone graduate. We are happy because we see their potential; it’s so good to be able to offer them a job where they can add value to the business,” she said.
With inspiring stories like these, it becomes difficult not to see the value in supporting local manufacturers through purchasing locally-made products.
Another way of investing in South Africa’s future is through supporting young people’s careers through MRP Foundation.

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