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MEDIA RELEASE - Fruit Sector Graduation


Students from the Pinotage Youth Development Academy (PYDA) joined with friends, family and past graduates on Friday 18 May to celebrate their graduation from the Academy’s twelve month Fruit Sector Programme.  The ceremony was, as ever, a joyful celebration with singing and dancing to mark the success of the students in completing what is a tough and challenging year. 

PYDA offers a unique programme that combines personal development with industry-specific vocational skills and practical work experience. It has successfully developed talented youth for employment and sustainable change since its inception in 2013. This group of 19 talented young people are now ready to launch their careers in any number of roles in the fruit value chain, including processing,  quality assurance, orchard management, marketing, logistics and export. 

As guest speaker, Joyene Isaacs, Head of Agriculture for the Western Cape, congratulated the graduates on their achievements. Her message to them was clear; “take the opportunities and make your dreams happen” by utilising their networks and selling themselves to employers. She sees a bright future for the career development of young, talented and work ready employees as her department drives a number of initiatives to create more opportunities in the agricultural sector.  She encouraged employers who are looking for bright and committed staff to contact PYDA.

Thembeka Twenisi’s daughter Akhona is a part of the graduating class and Thembeka’s address to the group was poignant, funny and heartwarming in equal measure. She acknowlegded the changes in their home as a result of Akhona’s learning at PYDA from the fact that she has been tasked with buying very specific types of fruit through to the hope that they now have as Akhona has the technical knowledge and interpersonal skills to embark on a meaningful and sustainable career path.

Graduation certificates were handed out by Rejoice Koali who graduated from the Academy’s first ever Fruit Sector Programme in 2016 and who now works in Quality Control at Two a day in Grabouw. She was joined by Zukani Metshane, Programme Delivery Co-ordinator for the Academy’s Fruit Class who sent the class off with a rousing tribute.  As is customary, each student was recognised individually by PYDA’s Executive Director, Nikki Munro who says  “PYDA provides a platform for talented young South Africans to gain a competitive edge in the workplace. Our unique approach results in young professionals that can grow fast in their respective careers while being the change this country needs. Young people in S.A are truly one of our greatest assets! “

The Academy has graduated 162 work-ready young men and women and continues to do so with two classes of Wine Tourism students currently in the programme, and a new class of 25 students start their journey in the Fruit Sector programme in June 2018.

Celebrations as the students become graduates! These 19 talented young individuals are from historically disadvantaged backgrounds and have completed a programme that combines sector-specific vocational training with personal development and practical work experience. 

Thembeka Twenisi, mother of graduate Akhona, addresses the graduating class of 2018, sharing her pride in her daughter and the stories of change in their home because of Akhona’s commitment to the Fruit Sector programme at PYDA.

Guest speaker Joyene Isaacs, Head of Agriculture for the Western Cape, inspired the graduating class – and the audience – with her message that encouraged them to follow their dreams, keep learning, recognise their own hard work and share their stories of success.

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