“YOUNG people must grab opportunities instead of consuming alcohol,” said Greater Kokstad Municipality mayor Bheki Mtolo when he addressed young people at a Youth Day event held in Bhongweni Youth Centre last Friday.He said young people who continuously drink alcohol will end up having terrible futures. He said children from as young as five years old are found roaming the streets of Horseshoe and Shayamoya during school time, and they will end up becoming criminals when they grow older.“We need young people who will make us proud by protecting women and children and contribute in the building of societies. Most young people drink alcohol at various liquor shops in Kokstad,” said Mtolo.The event was organised by the municipality in partnership with the youth council. Mtolo encouraged young people to use skill centres that provide training. “Elderly people must feel safe when they see young people at night. Education is very important for young people,” said Mtolo. Harry Gwala District Youth Manager Qiniso Ntozakhe encouraged young people to prioritise education and refrain from being involved in drugs and sex with many partners. Young people who completed a one year training course in hygiene and cleaning were given certificates and encouraged to establish their own cleaning companies.Two hundred young people were trained by Siyaya Skills Institute from last year, 177 completed the training and the remaining 23 dropped out. Xolani Thabatha, the Siyaya Skills Institute project manager, encouraged young people to establish their own businesses that can contribute towards the growth of economy.