Joseph Saunders
72 year old graduate Joseph Saunders (in the centre) with Engen and JC Community Leaders. Image Supplied

Joseph Saunders from Wentworth was one of 72 South Durban residents to be capped at the most recent Engen Community Computer School graduation ceremony held in early May.

The school has been transforming lives in South Durban for 14 years by offering unemployed residents free introductory-level computer skills training.

To date, the school has capped 2 753 graduates.

What is however so special about Joseph is that he left school at the age of 13 – a full 59 years ago – to find work so that he could help support his family and at the age of 72 Joseph now has a new outlook on life.

“I am so grateful to Engen for opening new doors for me and I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the teachers and the staff at the school, who are of the highest calibre and have given me an understanding and knowledge that will empower me to enjoy a much better life” says Joseph.

“The course is free of charge, and they even assist graduates with finding a job,” he adds.

Well-known in the local community and frequently boasting a waiting list, the school applicants must be unemployed school-leavers who reside in South Durban, and who are eager to upskill themselves.

While matric and age criteria are not prescribed, most students who attend the school are aged from 20 to 40.

Comments Joseph: “To everyone who is struggling out there, and I know there is a lot of desperation, especially amongst the younger generation, all you have to do is get up and reach out, there are a lot of organisations like Engen and other NGOs that are willing to give a hand.

“Take advantage of the opportunities because if you miss out you may never get the opportunity again”.

Course convener and training director, Sheryl Casalis says she is pleased to see how many graduates have found jobs over the years or been accepted onto Learnerships.

“This is as a direct result of their training at the school, and thanks to their new computer literacy skills,” adds Casalis.

Engen’s head of Transformation and Stakeholder Engagement, Dr James Nyawera congratulated Joseph for his tenacity and wished him every success in putting his newly acquired computer skills into practice.

Nyawera said “We believe that continuous community upskilling will ensure resilience and readiness in today’s everchanging and demanding new digital world and as a caring and responsible company, we are humbled to play a small role in positively changing lives of community members like Joseph and others who reside in South Durban.“