Graduation day is getting closer for a group of hospitality and hairdressing students enrolled at Youth Impact and Sustainable Solution (Yiss), a registered non-profit organisation (NPO) in Hanover Park. People’s Post visited the centre on Tuesday 20 August to talk to students and staff members. Yiss began as an NGO in 2015 and was awarded its NPO certificate in 2016. Its training programmes, subsidised by the department of social development, cater for unemployed youth from the area and surrounds. Programmes offered include entrepreneurship, career guidance, communication skills and crime prevention training. The courses take between 35 and 40 days to complete. Courses include the opportunity to attend an event where students can apply what they have learnt in real-life. Skills Education Training Authorities in South Africa (Seta) accredited moderators and facilitators present the courses.According to Jesmina and Roberto Stemmet, operational and systems managers, there are no educational requirements for youth who wish to enrol. Courses are open to everyone unemployed. The NPO conducts its own intake, followed by an interview. “We’re looking for someone who shows potential despite the harsh realities they face,” explains Roberto.He was quick to add that there were two requirements to enrolment: potential students had to be drug-free and have no gang affiliations. The NPO has an in-house human resources function which conducts background checks on potential students. It also works closely with social workers who have been instrumental in ensuring that no addicts come on board.“If we find out applicants are addicted to drugs, we refer them to organisations that deal with drug addiction to ensure they get the right help,” he explains.Veronica Dyum is enrolled in the hair and barber course. She says she is enjoying it and has learnt a lot. Originally from Beaufort West, she wants to go back home to open her own hair studio there once she finishes the course in October.She says the course not only improved her styling skills, it also introduced her to new friends. She enjoys spending time with them at the NPO.“This place has become a second home for me,” she shares.As for Tauriq Adendorff, he says the centre gave him a second chance after he was expelled from school because of bad behaviour. He was in Grade 10 when he was shown the door. He does not like to dwell on the past. After completing his hospitality training earlier this year, he stayed on as a volunteer. He impressed the staff members so much that they offered him a position in the kitchen. He says he enjoys working at Yiss and has no intention of leaving anytime soon.“I like it here and I have made friends. I enjoy making food, especially akni,” he shares.Roberto says they are helping Adendorff gain more experience and to build his character. Once they feel he is ready, the NPO will encourage him to enter the real world of employment. It will then be up to him to grow and showcase his hospitality skills.