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PE-Express
Unemployed youth to receive advanced driving training

ROAD accidents are things we’ll never get used to. People lose parents, others lose children, some victims survive and have to deal with the aftermath. Devastated, they have no other choice but to try to adapt to their new circumstances.

That is why Port Elizabeth-based company, SSS Advance Driving, in collaboration with the NGO, Rescue Campaign, have committed themselves to promoting driver safety, assisting in reducing road accidents and placing preventative and supportive measures in place to reduce the effects of accidents.

These two organisations have recently launched an Unemployed Youth Development Initiative, whereby 1 000 unemployed men and women, between the ages of 18 and 35, are provided with free training in advanced driving skills.

The initiative, which runs for the whole year, until the target of 1 000 candidates has been reached, focuses specifically on defensive driving techniques. The programme is open to all youth who possess a valid drivers’ licence.

“After serving the fire department for 30 years, I have seen how road accidents affect people,” said Peter Bezuidenhout, CEO of SSS Advance Driving, situated in St Albans Road, Greenbushes.

“The families have to deal with the after-effects of an accident and most of them are basically left on their own, with no idea what to do or where to go and some of them never recover from the trauma,” he added.

“We are here to fight that.”

Bezuidenhout believes that this training will go a long way for the candidates as this not only equips them with advanced driving skills, but it’s something that will also benefit their families as this will make them safer, more cautious drivers.

Bezuidenhout’s wife, Annie, who is the founder and director of Rescue Campaign, said that their current candidates are quite excited to be a part of this initiative, but that there are a few bumps in the road since most of them have trouble getting to the venue.

“People want to come, but they don’t have transport and that makes our job just a little bit more difficult.

“We would really like this initiative to succeed because it will uplift the community and reduce the carnage on our roads.”

One of the first candidates who successfully completed the programme, Peter-John Dickinson, said that he had learnt so much from the programme and also found it enjoyable.

“It’s something that I’ll definitely use and that could save my life. The theory alone was awesome because you learn so many things that you thought you already knew as a driver. It broadens your horizon and I feel that it should actually be compulsory,” Dickinson said.

Police spokesperson, Col. Priscilla Naidu, spoke on behalf of the Mount Road Cluster Community Policing Forum, which also partners with these organisations. She said that this approach creates a win-win situation for both the unemployed youth and also the community at large.

“Creating hope and positivity in unemployed youth is a step closer to self enrichment and confidence. The more one involves active participation and partnership with young people, the more one can increase the public value to a community,” Naidu said.

“The youth gain skills and experience that almost guarantees them future employment, whilst the community benefits by receiving honest, hardworking law abiding citizens who are able to lift their income above the poverty level,” she added.

“NGOs such as these play an important role in giving back to the communities by building a better future for all.”

About 200 candidates have completed the programme and approximately 800 spots are still open. Interested candidates can visit the organisations’ social media pages or contact Peter on 082 930 1378 or Annie on 083 389 7673.

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