MOIPONE MATSAPOLA | Future lies in the minds and hands of skilled youth
Annually, South Africans recognise and celebrate the role played by the youth of 1976 and how they contributed to the liberation of the country. The Gauteng government observed the 47th anniversary of June 16 under the leadership of Gauteng premier, Panyaza Lesufi, with an enormous job recruitment called "Nasi Spani" and complemented the Youth Day theme “accelerating youth economic development”.
Contrary to the youth of 1976, this generation is confronted with youth unemployment among other socio-economic burdens. According to Statistics SA (Stats SA), youth aged 15-24 and 25-34 years recorded the highest unemployment rates of 62,1% and 40,7% respectively.
To see a substantial decrease in this rate, collaboration of both government and the private sector is necessary. Government’s response to youth unemployment brought forth Gauteng government launching Nasi Spani, a job creation strategy that aims at addressing unemployment and promoting access to permanent government jobs, from entry level to senior management positions.
The youth of 2023 commemorated Youth Day in a memorable and beneficial manner by rising up in the early hours on the day to make long, twisting queues as they applied in person for over 3,000 jobs at 22 walk-in centres in townships and informal settlements across Gauteng. Other youths chose the online option for applications.
The response shown by the youth is evidence that despite the economical frustrations faced, youth are still hopeful and believe in themselves to take advantage of opportunities availed to them. In support of the National Youth Policy 2020-2030, Gauteng department of social development is intentional in providing education, skills development, second chances; economic transformation, entrepreneurship, job creation; mental health promotion and social cohesion.
Sustainable livelihoods directorate at Gauteng social development spearheads application of the policy through welfare-to-work programme (W2W), which assists youth to transition from depending solely on the welfare system and to seize entrepreneurial, skills development, education, and employment opportunities. Through partnership with Xilembeni Centre of Excellence, a trade test centre, ex-offenders, recovering substance users, beneficiaries from homeless programme, unemployed youth, to name but a few are equipped with technical skills such as welding, carpentry, electrical engineering, plumbing and poultry farming.
Evidently giving these groups a second chance from experiencing societal stigmas and alienation from economic participation. Another skills development centre in partnership with the department is Ndimase skills development centre offering: garment construction, manufacturing of cosmetics and furniture, computer literacy, community nutrition and sustainable farming. All skills offered at these two centres and four others are accredited by the sector education and training authority (Seta).
During the fourth quarter of FY2022/23, 16,306 young unemployed people turned their unemployment status and became participants of skills development programmes and 11,060 accessed other economic opportunities. While training is ongoing, beneficiaries can also generate income by selling products they manufacture at the centres and link them to the marketplace. Beneficiaries leave the skills development centres empowered and with ability to impart knowledge and train others, create jobs, develop their communities, innovate processes and systems in their businesses in a sustainable way with the future in mind.
In addition, bursaries, funding, and mentorship are also available and accessible at National Youth Development Agency. Youth are encouraged to access and participate in massified job opportunities under the Gauteng government, like solar techs, agro-processing, ‘Amapanyaza’, ECD teachers, cellphone repairs, Green Army Waste Management and many more.
We believe that the future lies in the minds and hands of the youth. Let’s rise and continue rising to self-development and development of our communities; being a self-reliant society that is transformative; sustainably skilled to respond with relevance to SA and its citizens; abreast of global issues and be active participants of the economy for a sustainable future.
Matsapola works at the Gauteng department of social development
Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.