May 2008




Hundreds of young people in Mpumalanga are get-ting new skills to help them enter the job market. This is due to the provincial government’s Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa) programme and the National Youth Service Programme. 

Training started after 1 000 young people were selected to take part in a special skills development project. They have all passed matric and are between the ages of 18 and 35. 

Youth service

The National Youth Service programme has called on all provinces to train their youth to help government reach Jipsa’s goals of developing skills and speeding up economic growth. In addition, it will break the cycle of unemployment by helping unemployed youth in the provinces to find jobs. 

The training programme is a year-long project that gives the youth a number of practical skills ranging from bricklaying, plastering, mechanics, carpentry, plumbing, welding and electrical work. 

Trainees get help from mentors and supervisors during the course. After completing the courses successfully, they get certificates that are recognised by the Further Education Colleges (FET). 

Joint effort

The Mpumalanga Department of Labour and Department of Public Works are jointly running the provincial programme. The Department of Labour handles the learning part of the programme. Trainees get a monthly wage of R600 while taking part in the programme. 

When they have finished the first part of the programme, they use their skills in the workplace. This practical side of the project is handled by the Department of Public Works. During this phase, trainees get a R1 000 wage.
Many young people who finish matric are unemployable. The contribution of the Department of Public Works and the De-partment of Labour is giving such matriculants much-needed on-the-job experience while they earn some money. This makes it much easier for them to find jobs. Those who are business-minded will leave the project with skills to start their own businesses.


LThis year, no more learners can be taken in, but the programme is ongoing and the next group of learners – from the Mpumalanga province only - will be accepted next year. Young people who are interested in applying to join, are advised to watch out for details in the local newspapers.

- Muzi Mkhwanazi

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