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Skills boost in second economy
30 November 2007
Adding skills to the taxi industry

Traders attended a business course, while taxi operators learned first aid, all in the name of the City drive to improve skills in the second economy.

A GROUP of taxi operators can teach passengers a thing or two about first aid; and a hundred traders know how to manage their businesses better - they have all completed training courses with St John’s Ambulance and BizAids, respectively.

The City’s Metropolitan Trading Company (MTC) gave 100 taxi operators and 100 traders certificates after they successfully completed short training courses as part of Joburg’s commitment to uplift people operating in the second economy. The scheme also aims to help them improve their trades and the lives of the people with whom they work.

The ceremony took place at Museum Africa in Newtown on Wednesday, 28 November.

“We contacted taxi owners and asked them to select the people they wanted to attend the training because they know their workers better than anyone. So the criteria was to let the owners choose who they wanted to send out for the three- to four months-long course,” said Valentine Mdluli, the research and development officer at the MTC.

Candidates were taken from different taxi ranks around the city so that the knowledge was widely spread. “The City funded transport from the different taxi ranks to the training station and the overall cost of the training,” she said.

Having taxi drivers, owners and marshals attend the first aid training was very important because people got sick in taxis or wounded at the rank and often did not get help because people operating at the taxi ranks did not know how to handle the problem.

The first aid training covered the basics, including how to handle emergencies, how to stabilise someone who had fainted and to cover a bleeding wound.

Success: Mandisa Mawisa receives her certificate for completing her BizAids course
Success: Mandisa Mawisa receives her certificate for completing her BizAids course

Traders did the BizAids course, a micro business risk survival guide. It covered topics like developing a plan to protect the future of the business; the stages of development in a growing business; the risks posed by not protecting family and business assets; and understanding how HIV affects individuals, family, the business enterprise and the community.

Speaking at the ceremony, Sechabela Mokoka, the executive director of the MTC, gave a word of encouragement and congratulated all the candidates who were receiving awards. “A university can give you knowledge not wisdom, so don’t look down upon yourselves because you don’t have a degree from a university. Getting this certificate is a big achievement and you should be proud of yourselves.”

The MTC did not see taxi operators and traders as baggage to communities but as important citizens in the country. “We are trying to break the stereotype that these industries are for those who have failed and have nowhere else to go. It’s people like you that strengthen our economy by creating jobs for those who are unemployed,” he said.

Those who received certificates were encouraged to see them as stepping-stones towards a brighter future. “All the stakeholders have a lot to learn from you. You are boosting the economy by being self-employed and sometimes you even hire others as well. We are very proud of the contribution you make in society,” Mokoka concluded.

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Last Updated on 12 December 2007