A group of 58 community development workers in the Free State saw a new dawn when awarded formal qualifications relating to the work they do in the community.The group, comprising of men and women, completed a programme at the Central University of Technology (CUT), Free State. The university conferred higher certificates in the Community Development Work Programme on them during a ceremony held on 28 March. The event coincided with the CUT’s autumn graduation. The training programme is a government-led initiative of the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA). It provides an opportunity for skills capacity training of employees and people involved in local government structures, as well as unemployed South Africans citizens. The initiative entails creating and implementing a variety of skills development interventions, such as the Sector Skills Plan (SSP) and learning programmes aimed at local government employees and others working within the sphere, such as traditional leaders and ward councillors.Provincially the education empowerment programme is run in partnership with the CUT’s Faculty of Management Sciences and the Free State government. Dan Maritz, CUT spokesperson, said the graduates were already doing community development work in various places in the province as part of the university’s partnership with the Free State Premier’s Office and the LGSETA. He said the programme was funded by LGSETA and managed by a skills development facilitator in the Premier’s Office, Victoria Thaela. “It was brought into being by the CUT’s Faculty of Management Sciences after academic staff were approached to offer courses in the community development work,” explained Maritz.