The Public Works Department is gradually achieving its basic mandate towards equipping the unemployed with essential job skills.This became evident after the graduation of 320 kasi residents from a recently completed EPWP training programme at Johnson Ngwevela Community Hall in Langa last Wednesday. The programme is reportedly one of the initiatives the department ran nationwide in collaboration with the Independent Development Trust (IDT) over a three year period. The skills provided ranged from Early Childhood Development (ECD), home based care, hospitality and mixed farming system training. The trainees hailed from Gugulethu,Langa, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Philippi and other surrounding areas.Coceko Phakade, IDT’s CEO said the venture developed as a poverty alleviation and job creation skills programme the government had contracted them to implement as part of the EPWP through community based Non Profit Organisations (NPO’s).“We have been engaged with it since the three-years-ago and we also ensured the participation of the kasi communities as well as the involvement of all the structures in the locality. “Our aim has been to build on what already existed and we operated countrywide. We are now on the third phase of our agenda since 2004 when it initially commenced,”said Phakade.Mzonke Dlabantu, the department’s Director General said they were not trying to respond on the election promises but the task was their own way to respond on the government five year development plan. “Our strategy is all about to empower all communities but we discourage politicisation of the EPWP programmes.“They are government based and we run them irrespective of which party is in the majority.We solely require all our participant to adhere to the guidelines and policies of the EPWP implementation.Nompumelelo Ngoqo, the Langa based Urban Rural Development Project Manager said the training became an immense upliftment because it had opened up potential job opportunities for most kasi residents.“It had played a great to help others learn to eat healthier from the farming skills they benefited from it.Thembakazi Toni, 29-year-old from Gugulethu said she was thrilled that she would combine her newly acquired ECD qualification with the previous experience from working with children to make herself a perfect job candidate.Mbuyiselo Somana, 56-year-old and a passionate gardener from Langa said he felt well empowered and confident that there was now a job already waiting for him after his graduation from the mixed farming systems course.