South Africa’s economy is being boosted by an annual Department of Employment and Labour programme that provides skills to the unemployed youth and unemployed Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) beneficiaries.
The Labour Activation Programmes (LAP), funded by the UIF, help prepare youngsters to enter the job market and to establish their own businesses.
The UIF has set aside R551 million to train 14 771 beneficiaries as chief food handlers and 150 as fibre optic technicians. A further 5 000 people will be taught enterprise development skills for mixed farming.
Of the beneficiaries, 70% are former UIF contributors who lost their jobs, says Minister of Labour and Employment Thulas Nxesi.
Nxesi says government is making every effort to create employment in South Africa. “We urge the private sector and all potential stakeholders to partner with us to reduce and end unemployment in the country because partnerships are key to creating jobs,” he says.
Beautician nails the job
Luyanda Luthuli (28), a 2019 LAP beneficiary from Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal, now works as a professional beautician.
“LAP helped me get a job in the beauty industry, which is something I have always been passionate about. I learnt how to administer anti-ageing IV drips and to do microblading and pedicures, among other things,” Luthuli says.
She says that in addition to her job at the salon, she offers nail and beauty treatments part-time. She hopes to use the business skills she learnt through the LAP to develop her own business.
Another beneficiary of the programme, Bayanda Zaca, has gone from working odd jobs in construction to being a head chef at a top restaurant in Durban.
“I am also helping the new trainees at the food processing centre in Ndwedwe,” says Zaca.
Doors of opportunity
Beneficiaries are recruited through the Department of Employment and Labour’s Employment Services of South Africa (Essa) portal. Unemployed people
register on the portal and are contacted should opportunities arise.
To improve the programme, the UIF has forged a partnership with the Fuze Institute for Humanitarian Praxis.
This organisation is responsible for appointing applicants who will be part of the LAP programme.
Speaking at the launch of this year’s programme, Fuze CEO Thandi Ngcobo revealed that 14 771 beneficiaries have been employed by the Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal after completing their training.
She says the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal has pledged to support the 5 000 learners’ co-operatives by purchasing their farming produce, while Link Africa has committed to employing the 150 fibre optic technicians upon completion of their training.