THE talented woodwork students of the Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre will show off the results of their hard work at an open day on October 26. The Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre, an extension programme of the EP Child and Youth Care Centre, was established in 2006. It started with only seven students and has since grown to include more than 150 in various training programmes.“We do social intervention where we give opportunities to unemployed young people from disadvantaged communities to get a qualification,” said Caroline Ferreira, project director of the Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre.The youth, aged between 18 and 25, are spread across eight different programmes, namely Beauty, Woodwork and Upholstery, Needlework and Crafts, Early Childhood Development, Hospitality Studies, Homebased Care and HIV/Aids and Palliative Care, Butchery and Bakery.The newest of the lot is barber training. Johan Senekal mans the Roux Barber Shop at the Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre and passes his skills on to the students. The shop is open from Monday to Thursday and they offer special rates for pensioners and students.“Our goal is to help the youth gain employment either in the form of getting a job or become entrepreneurs,” Ferreira said.They only have about 15 students per class, which makes it easier to pay individual attention to them.According to Ferreira, they partner with different organisations so that the students can learn the practical component of their field as well. They have a coffee shop on site where some of the students get to show off, the Roux Barber Shop and a stall at the Boardwalk that sells the items made by the sewing craft students. “We have a lot of success stories of students who absolutely rise to the top. Some of them are in supervisory positions, other are entrepreneurs,” a proud Ferreira said. “We attribute the success of the programme to the love, care and hope we give the students.”The open day next week will generate income for the youth, enabling them to buy their own tools to put to use when they leave the programme. They have been hard at work making everything from tables and cupboards to chairs and baskets to sell to the public next Friday. Members of the public can place an order, as well, through the Ray Mhlaba Entrepreneurial Hub on site.Ferreira said they won’t be stopping with just the one open day. They are planning to have a sale open to the public once a month on a Friday.“This is the hidden secret of Port Elizabeth; here where there is so much upliftment and love behind these fences.”The open day will take place at the Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre in Conyngham Street, Glendinningvale, on October 26 from 10:00 to 14:00.For more info on the Roux Barber Shop contact Johan Senekal at 082 464 2242 or 074 899 3793 and for more info on the centre or the open day contact the Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre at 041 374 0641.