Work programmes for Gauteng youth

One of the biggest challenges in South Africa today is unemployment among the youth. After falling to 21% around 2007/2008, unemployment has risen to over 28% due to the slow economic growth rate.

High youth unemployment, according to government's development indicators, reflects in part the high drop-out rate at schools as well as the shortage of suitable post-school education opportunities.

In his state of the province address, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said his administration was trying everything to address youth unemployment, hence the launch of Tshepo 1 Million. The project is a partnership between the provincial government and private sector. Among these companies are Microsoft, Gijima Technologies, Shanduka Black Umbrellas, Coca Cola, Absa and Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator.

"As I have said before, youth unemployment is the most acute economic problem of our time. Economics and politics will have no future relevance if youth are left out," said Makhura.

"In Gauteng, there are close to two million young people who are neither in employment, in education nor in training. Some of them are on the verge of losing hope, while others have drifted to crime and other social ills such as drug and substance abuse.

Makhura said it was for this reason that his administration has launched this large-scale and massive programme, Tshepo 1 Million, as an intervention to open opportunities with regard to demand-led skills development, job placement and entrepreneurship for the youth.

"This ground-breaking partnership between the Gauteng Provincial Government, Harambee Youth Employment Accele-rator and more than 40 major private sector corporations is a living example of a social compact," said Makhura.

Emmanuel Mdhluli, Shanduka Black Umbrella's chief executive officer, said the partnership with government in Tshepo 1 Million was one of the most innovative and ground-breaking ways to create jobs and support entrepreneurs, particularly unemployed youth in the townships.

"Tshepo 1 Million is a fantastic partnership with the Gauteng government and the office of the premier," said Mdhluli.

"We are determined to empower young people in Gauteng with skills development so they can become employable and start their own businesses by offering them business development support and an opportunity to formalise their own enterprises in the townships."

An impact assessment study conducted by the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) found that most governments needed to improve the advertising campaigns in order for more young people to be aware of the service offered given by government agencies such as GEP.

GEP supports the 11 sectors under the Gauteng provincial government's transformation, modernisation and re-industrialisation programme and they include - agro-processing, automotive, manufacturing, information communications technology, tourism, pharmaceutical, creative industries, construction, real estate, finance and mineral beneficiation.

It was recommended that the GEP should try to extend their loan amounts offered, as many of the respondents required higher amounts.

The study also found that many young people are not familiar with business ethics, techniques and management skills. It said it would help if GEP can provide mentorship as part of the business development support packages in order to assist their clients and teach them business skills to be successful.

Among others, the impact assessment study has recommended that regional offices of the GEP be used more as one-stop offices where IT related facilities could be offered to SMMEs and cooperatives. Each regional and satellite office should have a computer centre for SMME and cooperatives.

"GEP should consider introducing an accounting service to SMMEs and cooperatives," the study suggested.

"This will assist with formalising SMME and cooperatives business practices. The accounting service will also reduce the turnaround time for SMMEs and cooperatives accordingly. The accounting service will also reduce the turnaround time for SMEEs and cooperatives to submit financial applications."

"Since 2015, nearly 460000 young people have benefited from the Tshepo 500000 flagship programme. This programme has now been upgraded and rebooted into Tshepo 1 Million so that we can change the lives of many more young people in our province and give them hope," said Makhura.

"The call made by President Cyril Ramaphosa to place the unemployed youth in paid internships in companies across the economy, will inject momentum to the work we are already doing on Tshepo 1 Million. We can get more companies to lend a hand and help our youth."

Tshepo 1 Million was launched in 2014, originally as Tshepo 500000.

It was intended to give hope to young people and address the challenges of poverty and unemployment.

"Since the implementation of this programme, we have reached more than 250000 young people; 50000 of whom have been placed in sustainable jobs in the private and public sector and more than 22000 have been provided with skills development opportunities. More than 500 young people have been assisted to start business of their own. We are implementing the Gauteng Integrated Youth Development Strategy 2015-2020 to drive youth-specific interventions aimed at ensuring that young people are at the centre of our programme to transform, modernise and reindustrialise the Gauteng city region," said Makhura.

"As part of implementing our programme of Transformation,

Modernisation and Reindustrialisation, 10% of the provincial

government's goods and services budget is spent on businesses owned by the youth.

"Since 2014, R3.1billion worth of goods and services have been procured from youth-owned enterprises. In addition, we continue to implement career guidance and work-readiness programmes to assist young people access the job market. Over 1 500 young people participated in the work-readiness programme and were placed in job opportunities since 2012.

"We are proud that more and more young black people are occupying senior and strategic positions both in the public and private sectors. For instance we have appointed the first youngest hospital CEO at Bertha Gxowa Hospital, Dr Nokwethemba Mtshali-Hadebe. In order to strengthen and upscale existing youth development and empowerment initiatives, and in order to mobilise the rest of society in responding to the many challenges facing young people, we have begun developing the Gauteng Youth Agenda (GYA) 2030.

"The GYA 2030 will be implemented across all sectors of
society and the economy and will involve practical interventions to advance further youth development and empowerment. We urge young people to seize the opportunities made available to them by their government."

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