Having found his way to teaching, via a local reading coach programme in 2016 at the nearby Gamtoos Valley Primary School, Robin Nelson is now a qualified educator, having taken up a teaching position at his very own childhood school, Patensie Primary School, where he is motivated to give back to his community.
“This new position means a great deal to me, especially as it was never an easy task to work part-time, study, whilst being a parent too. Hence, I am grateful to have come this far in my journey to shape a better future for myself and give back to everyone who has supported me and believed in me,” said Nelson.
Born and bred in the Kouga region’s small town of Patensie, Robin, 26, was part the first intake of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm’s Reading Assistants, which is where he was first exposed to the idea of a potential teaching career choice. During this tenure he pursued his Bachelor of Education degree, which he completed in October last year, and has now moved on to this teaching role teaching learners across the senior primary phase of the school (Grades 4-7).
“Being a Reading Assistant helped me to gain experience and to also understand that each learner is different. It also helped me to acknowledge that we have to see further than the classroom and that learners struggles with personal issues that we as Reading Assistants and teachers should understand and appreciate,” he added, whilst explaining that his future goal is to help his school become a safe haven for learners and to help shape a bright future for themselves.
To-date Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm’s Literacy and Numeracy programme has drawn in nineteen youth from the wind farm’s surrounding communities, to train as Reading and Literacy Assistants. A large proportion have had the opportunity to give back to their own communities, as they are able to work in local schools.
“It is very motivating and empowering to see the positive difference that our literacy programme can make in the lives children’s, as the positive impact of these assistants extend beyond the classroom to other areas of child development, even sometimes into the area of sports,” explained Hlengiwe Radebe, Economic Development Director for Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.
This forms part of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm’s Foundation Phase Education Programme, which commenced in 2016. The programme is active across fourteen primary schools, within the communities of Hankey, Patensie, Ocean View, Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp. The Programme incorporates a number of elements, namely employment opportunities, training and resources. In addition to this, schools also receive books for reading and maths book clubs.