SA’s skills initiative ‘on track’

13 November 2007

South Africa’s partnership with the private sector has seen thousands of unemployed graduates undergoing training programmes at various multi-national corporations both locally and abroad, says Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Addressing the media following the three-day meeting between the International Investment Council (IIC) and President Thabo Mbeki as well as several government ministers at Fancourt in George on Sunday, Mlambo-Ngcuka said the government’s Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa) programme had broken new ground for lot of people.

The IIC advises Mbeki on economic policy and consists of the leaders of some of the world’s largest businesses. Jipsa forms part of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (Asgi-SA), which seeks to halve unemployment and poverty in the country by 2014.

Training programmes abroad
As part of Jipsa, a number of South African students are currently in training programmes abroad to acquire skills in information communication technology (ICT), telecommunications, engineering, finance, science and technology and other various disciplines.

“We have lots of people placed in various companies in South Africa and abroad,” she said. “In Paris, lots of local women have opened a new world for themselves in the field of engineering.”

Mlambo-Ngcuka added that the government’s training agreements with local companies like Woolworths, Shoprite and Standard Bank had also seen a considerable number of unskilled and unemployed graduated undergoing skills development programmes.

A Jipsa video given to members of the media shows that a number of multi-national and local companies have absorbed South African unemployed graduates and offered them with training programmes relevant to their chosen carees.

“Jipsa has identified work-ready but unskilled students who had not been exposed to the cutting edge developments in the industries,” Mlambo-Ngcuka says in the video.

Economic performance
The Presidency said IIC members had expressed their satisfaction with the performance of the South African economy, as well as continued improvement in the country’s regulatory environment and infrastructure development.

“They noted that the skills challenge is a worldwide phenomenon, especially [technical skills such as engineering]. This required concerted long-term remedial policy measures to attain a sustainable growth trajectory,” the Presidency said in a statement. “It is in this context that council members reiterated their support for Asgi-SA and Jipsa.”

The IIC also noted the impact of the international sub-prime financial crisis on the South African financial sector and economy, the impact of strong economic growth in Asia, the Middle East, Russia, Africa and Latin America, and the constant pressure in infrastructure, capital goods and intermediate goods.

In this regard, government officials were told of the importance of marketing lead economic sectors to attract investment, and to ensure that South African embassies and High Commissions around the world were integral in conducting economic diplomacy.

“This is an urgent task since investors throughout the world are in constant search for investment opportunities.”

SAinfo reporter and BuaNews

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