Job creation tops Youth Month agenda

4 June 2013

Education, skills development, job creation and the fight against substance abuse will top the agenda for South Africa’s Youth Month programme this year, says Deputy Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Obed Bapela.

Speaking to young people at the launch of the programme at the Hector Peterson Museum in Orlando, Soweto on Monday, Bapela said the government would hold a number of public participation sessions around the country during an Imbizo Focus Week taking place from 11 to 17 June.

“The izimbizo will provide a great opportunity for communities and other entities to get involved and make their voices heard.”

Presidential Youth Working Group

Bapela said President Jacob Zuma had set up a Presidential Youth Working Group to provide a platform for youth leaders meet with him and Cabinet ministers to assess the progress the country had made in meeting their challenges.

According to latest statistics, about three-million South Africans between the ages of 15 and 34 are currently jobless.

Bapela said the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) had helped to create more than 28 000 jobs in the last three years, while providing career guidance services to more than 1-million young people, granting over 110 bursaries and issuing more than 33 000 loans to small businesses.

Calling on the government, business and labour to form strategic partnerships with the NYDA to reduce unemployment, Bapela said it was only when everyone in the country acted in concert “that the lives of young people will be changed for the better”.

NYDA to discontinue loans, offer grants

Yershen Pillay, the newly appointed NYDA board chairperson, said that with unemployment and lack of skills remaining a big challenge, the agency had shifted its focus from enterprise development to education and skills development.

“[We want to change] from loan provision to grant finance, which will be a combination of career guidance, grants, training and mentorship programmes.”

Pillay said the NYDA planned to reach over 700 000 young South Africans through career guidance alone, starting with 1 250 first-time entrepreneurs through various roadshows that taking place around the country in June.

New education programme

The June 16 Foundation, meanwhile, will be launching a programme to improve maths and science teaching at several schools around Soweto.

Dan Motsitsi, the chairperson of the foundation, said they had partnered with Gauteng Department of Education MEC Barbara Creecy to roll out the ” Culture of Learning and Teaching” programme to priority schools in the township.

He said that Soweto residents, under the leadership of the foundation, would take it upon themselves to ensure that the culture of learning was prioritised by their children.

“Saturday and holiday classes will form part of the programme, starting from Grade 9, 10, 11 and Grade 12 learners,” he said.

SAnews.gov.za and SAinfo reporter