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Youth employment tops the nation's agenda

More funds will be pumped into youth programmes. Delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament President Cyril Ramaphosa said government will increase its financial backing for initiatives to increase employment opportunities.

“This  SONA Address is about inclusive growth. This year, we fix the fundamentals. We pursue critical areas of growth, and we ensure excellence in planning and execution in government,” said the President.

In South Africa, of the 1.2 million young people who enter the labour market each year, approximately two thirds remain outside of employment, education or training.

President Ramaphosa explained that the solution to the unemployment crisis must be approached in two ways – creating opportunities for youth employment and self-employment.

“Firstly, we are creating pathways for young people into the economy. We are building cutting-edge solutions to reach young people where they are – online, on the phone and in person,” the President said.

“Starting this month, we are launching five prototype sites in five provinces that will grow to a national network, reaching three million young people through multiple channels.

“This will allow them to receive active support, information and work readiness training to increase their employability and match themselves to opportunities.”

The second priority action will focus on getting young people ready for the future of work; providing shorter, more flexible courses in specific skills that employers in fast-growing sectors need.

Thirdly, government plans to develop new and innovative ways to support youth entrepreneurship and self-employment.

The fourth priority includes scaling up the Youth Employment Service and working with technical and vocational education and training colleges and the private sector to ensure that more learners receive practical experience in the workplace to complete their training.

As the fifth priority, government will establish the first cohort of a Presidential Youth Service programme that will empower young people and provide opportunities for them to earn an income.

As part of the sixth intervention, the National Youth Development Agency and the Department of Small Business Development will provide grant funding and business support to 1 000 young entrepreneurs in the next 100 days.

SAnews.gov.za