McGregor is a small town with about 3000 residents and surrounded by a large farming community. Other than farming and tourism, McGregor offers little other employment. School leavers and women can get seasonal work (December – February) in the factory in Ashton (about 35km away) and on the farms. The men are mostly involved in the building trade including bricklayers, painters and a few carpenters. Most qualified plumbers, electricians and some builders are white. Other than some builders, very few of the coloured and black families run their own businesses.
All guest houses, restaurants and weekend accommodation on farms are owned by white people. Jobs are scarce and skills of school leavers are low. Many students do not complete the final school examination and leave school early, further complicating the situation. Unemployment, alcoholism, teenage pregnancies and poverty are rife.
Through training and home industries the Breede Centre hopes to establish many little centers of self-employment with a central marketing arm.
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