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Gauteng's economy will never again have to depend on imported foreign skills for its growth and sustainability.
This was a message from Gauteng department of education deputy director-general Len Davids.
Davids was addressing the top 1000 Gauteng pupils at the Skills Pipeline Development Orientation Workshop at Carnival City in Ekurhuleni.
"Gauteng is the third largest economy in Africa and the economic hub of South Africa," Davids said.
"But the reality that confronts us is that many people across the country and elsewhere, who come to the province, are poor and have no skills. This puts a burden on services and the economy.
"Gauteng has a 20 percent unemployment rate and the challenge is to grow the economy. To do this we have to build the skills base. We can only do this by looking at our youth and schools."
The Grade 11 and 12 pupils were selected out of 200000 from 50 public schools in Gauteng.
This is part of the partnership between the Education Department, Editworks and Kelly, called Ikusasa Lami - my tomorrow.
Ikusasa Lami seeks to address the critical skills shortage in the province through a public-private partnership programme.
The partnership will run for three years and is aimed at giving pupils an opportunity to gain work experience in the companies they will be placed in.
There are 27 top companies where pupils will be placed from June 23 to 27.
The main objectives of Ikusasa Lami are to identify talent in disadvantaged shools and nurture pupils' talents; to partner with business to provide pupils with job-training opportunities while still at school; to monitor their progress and help them access bursaries, learnerships or employment after completing matric.
Grade 12 pupil Ntokozo Mabena from Reshogofatse Secondary School said she would use the opportunity to reach her dream of becoming a chartered accountant.
"This is a golden opportunity for me," Mabena said.