Gauteng youth get skilled

Mabonde Nyingwa, Bandile Zitshu and Zithandele Mabandla, the trio who invented a fireproof shack, working in their welding business, Ithemba Welding Works. / Garth Stead.
Mabonde Nyingwa, Bandile Zitshu and Zithandele Mabandla, the trio who invented a fireproof shack, working in their welding business, Ithemba Welding Works. / Garth Stead.

One of the reasons youth with technical skills struggle to get jobs is due to not having enough experience required by the employer.

To bridge this gap, Gauteng Premier David Makhura's office, in partnership with an non-governmental organisation, Tshepo 1 Million, has come up with a programme that will increase opportunities for young artisans and engineers to secure jobs.

The Installation Repair and Mantainance (IRM) Jnr Technician programme, run by NPO Harambee, bridges the gap between engineering theory and work readiness both in terms of practical skills and work behaviours.

"It prepares a young person to enter the workplace ready to engage positively on on-the-job training and development," said Harambee's Anthony Gewer.

The IRM assists in handskills, measuring, materials, engineering drawing, fluid power, electrics/electronics, networking, health and safety, self-regulation, attention to detail, resilience, physical endurance and positive attitude.

"The initiative, with its multiple exit pathways, provides an opportunity for employers looking to tap into a technical skills talent pool for its entry-level employment needs and apprenticeship opportunities," said Gewer.

He noted that on the IRM programme, Harambee has partnered with more than 430 companies in all sectors including retail, hospitality, tourism, financial services, business services, information technology, logistics, manufacturing mining and social/community services.

Gewer said IRM, launched in August, has 200 candidates, half of which are already in workplaces.

"The other 100 are currently in training and will get into the workplace from February.
We are targeting 1000 placements by June next year and 7500 by 2022, 30% of which will go into micro-enterprises (as entrepreneurs)," he said.

The IRM programme forms part of initiatives that Makhura's government, along with various organisations, launched to empower the youth.

The programme, known as Tshepo 1Million, has since its inception benefited 514000 young people. Harambee is a strategic partner of the Gauteng provincial government in this programme along with private sector company.

In his political report last week, Makhura said Harambee's role was to serve as a clearing house by preparing young people for high-demand jobs in specific sectors and for specific employers, based on their skills and where they live.

He said many employers have gained lots of confidence from the preparatory work done by Harambee.

"This work ranges from the broad-based mass digital learning system to much more job-specific and task-specific bridging programmes needed to prepare young people for on-the-job experience," he said.

"Without this intervention, many talented young people who have benefited would have been left out of these opportunities due to labour market failure and the weaknesses of the education system."

Makhura said he accepted criticism that say the programme was not big and fast enough. "We are now upscaling the programme and linking it to opportunities in the township economy, as Tshepo 1 Million," he said.

Those who want to benefit from Tshepo 1Million should log onto, leave their details, and a consultant will call them.

The provincial government has also rolled out broadband to more than 11181 sites including schools, hospitals, public service and industrial parks, to be in line with the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Gauteng MEC for Economic Development Lebogang Maile said that his government has spent 22% of its procurement budget buying goods and services from businesses owned by women, many of which are based in the townships and employ or are owned by young people. Maile said for next year they target to increase procurement to get close to 30%.

Finance MEC Barbara Creecy said township businesses and those owned by young people also received a fair share of government public procurement. She said since 2014 the government has procured goods and services from 43% of the black businesses to the value of R10.7bn.

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