Academy driving force

2015-08-12 06:00
THE graduates proudly display the learner’s licences they obtained through the Sophia Driving Academy. In the middle is Sophia Mphuthi, owner of the academy.
Boipelo Mere

THE graduates proudly display the learner’s licences they obtained through the Sophia Driving Academy. In the middle is Sophia Mphuthi, owner of the academy. Photo: Boipelo Mere

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EMPOWERING the community in the form of teaching is no longer just a dream for Sophia Mphuthi, owner of the Sophia Driving Academy.

She proudly revealed how she was finally accredited for more unit standards by Seta earlier in March after applying for an extension of scope.

Mphuthi said she had started her driving academy in 2006 with a mere R250 that had been given to her by her mother.

She celebrated her success on Friday (07/08) with some of her 50 students of the Skills Development Programme who were awarded their learner’s licences, thanks to funding from the Transport Training Education Authority (Teta).

The graduation ceremony, that saw stakeholders of the transport fraternity, the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), the National Youth Development Agency (Nyda) and De Beers come together, was held at the Social Centre in Galeshewe.

The programme was launched by Nyda in May in an effort to reduce unemployment among the youth.

During the graduation ceremony, Mphuthi pleaded with the students to persevere and complete their course by getting their driver’s licences. She asked the learners not to take advantage of the opportunities given to them.

Mphuthi recalled how she went the extra mile of paying for most of the learners out of her pocket in an effort of preparing them for heavy-duty and extra-heavy licences, which was what she had been accredited for.

“After realising that I recruited wrongly, I decided not to send the learners home, but to pay for their learner’s licences and for their appointments instead,” said Mphuthi.

“Nyda assisted me by training them for job preparedness.

“When I started this business, I had a vision of empowering my community, but I did not know how to go about it. I did not even have an instructor’s certificate and went hungry, but soldiered on to get what I wanted.”

She said she had been on top of the world when she received her first accreditation through Seda’s intervention.

Seda assisted her with accreditation, advice, support and branding material.

“When I was accredited for the first time in 2014, with only two unit standards, it was a big achievement for me.

“But today it is a dream that has come true, because I am a fully-accredited skills provider.”

Stretching out her arms, Mphuthi proudly said: “Through knocking at doors and programmes like these, my accreditation is this wide.”

Lebogang Olyn, chairperson of Nyda in the Northern Cape, encouraged the students to use their skills by becoming entrepreneurs through the assistance of Nyda’s entrepreneurship programme if they encountered challenges of finding jobs

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