The Chrysalis Youth Academy (CA) celebrated the graduation of 211 male students on Saturday 3 August at the academy’s premises on Porter Estate, Tokai. Shortly after, on Monday 5 August, the graduates stepped into a 12-month internship at a placement organisation close to their homes. The Western Cape minister of community safety Albert Fritz was the keynote speaker at the event.“I’m incredibly proud of each and every single graduate of the Alpha 19 course. They have turned their lives around and are now leaders among their peers,” said Fritz. He added that the academy produces young leaders and highlighted two beacons of hope. “Firstly, we have Roderick George from Lavender Hill. He was a student in 2013 and is now one of our senior instructors. He is known for being a fast runner, and for being passionate about youth development. Secondly, we have Tshepiso Lesoetsa from Nyanga. Lesoetsa is known for being a keen and hardworking student who studied to become a peace officer.”Fritz added that his relationship with the academy went back a long way, to when he was previously the provincial minister for community safety between 2010 and 2011. “Chrysalis holds a special place in my heart because I have seen over the years the life-changing experience it has been for so many young men and women.”Fritz said that youth academies like CA are becoming more critical to guide young people through the challenges they face. “In South Africa, the youth unemployment rate is as high as 52%. Chrysalis is helping to break this vicious cycle which entraps and takes opportunities away from the youth,” he said.Provincial minister for social development Sharna Fernandez, as well as the former chief whip of the DA and founder of CA, Mark Wiley, also attended the event.CA students hail from across the province, including Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain, Hanover Park, Plettenberg Bay, George, Mossel Bay, Beaufort West, Leeu Gamka, Vredendal and Saldanha. For three months, they are accommodated at the Porter Estate while they complete the 19 Alpha course. Graduates of the programme received training in office administration, computer literacy, sports leadership, basic cookery, public safety, peace officer’s training, youth development, welding and electrical circuitry as well as fire fighting. CA has an average intake of 220 young people every three months. More than 9 000 young people have graduated since 2000. The Alpha 19 course for female students will start on Saturday 31 August.