A joint venture between Ikamva Ubomi and Mzansi Empowerment Centre, to empower underprivileged people from Maitland, has been launched. The youth empowerment initiative was launched at Maitland High School on Friday 20 September. It is designed to equip youth with various skills from self-development and entrepreneurship to computer literacy skills. During the launch, the two organisations held their first career development workshop, where various speakers spoke to 12 young people.Depending on the programme attended, Cheryl-Lynn Freeman, director at Mzansi, says some participants will receive a certificate at the end of their chosen training.She says they target poverty-stricken communities with a high unemployment rate, where people struggle to access higher education. She says they aim to equip the youth with basic skills, preparing them for entry-level jobs and entrepreneurship.“Recruiters are no longer interested in a formal qualification now, but rather want someone who can do the job. “Anyone with a positive mind and determination can get a job and grow within it, but the challenge is acquiring the right knowledge to market and get that job,” Freeman says.She hopes the youth will grab the opportunity and make use of it.Eugene Walker, Ikamva’s chief executive officer, says this is one of many resource centres they have established in different areas. However, they plan to make the Maitland location the hub, and pilot a project to feed the other resource centres from it. This location will be equipped and open throughout the week with programmes catering to a variety of groups, says Walker.Morning programmes will cater to youth; in the afternoon they will run an after school programme and later in the day, from 18:00, they look at empowering parents who would want to upskill themselves. Walker says doors are open to businesses and other stakeholders that would want to contribute to the upliftment of the communities.“We create a platform and provide resources for organisations to come in and do capacity training, and for the community to know that there is an opportunity right at their doorstep,” Walker says.Somila Konjwa, a learner at Maitland High School, attended the workshop and says he found it informative. He dreams of being an entrepreneur and says he is always looking at opportunities like this one to make sure he makes the right decisions in the future.