Pretoria — Gauteng's unemployed youth have a reason to be hopeful again.
Gauteng has about 2.7 million young people aged between 15 and 34 who are neither studying nor working. Half of them have not completed Grade 12 and are unemployable, and close to 60% of them are in long-term unemployment. They have never worked and have lost hope.
But with the unveiling of the Tshepo 1 Million programme, things are about to change for good for these young people.
The programme, unveiled on Thursday, is aimed at empowering one million young people through skills training, job placement and entrepreneurship development, which will in turn help the youth to find sustainable jobs.
Speaking at the launch, Premier David Makhura said the Tshepo (a Setswana word which means hope/trust) initiative was first launched in 2014, with the intention to empower 500 000 young people (Tshepo 500 000) through skills training and entrepreneurship development.
However, the programme has been expanded to empower one million young people based on its success and the enthusiasm shown by private sector companies.
Premier Makhura said this new phase will usher in a season of hope for the youth of Gauteng, as it is not a welfare initiative that seeks to patronise the youth.
"The youth don't want hand-outs. They want hand-ups. It is an initiative that taps on the energy, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of the youth. It is about opening pathways for the youth to access employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. It is about giving the youth a helping hand and a second chance in life so that they can take charge of their own destiny."
The Premier said the private sector's response in supporting this initiative has been amazing.
Already about 25 companies, such as Microsoft SA, Coca Cola, Hollard, Gijima, Shanduka Black Umbrellas, COFESA, ABSA, Broll, CCBSA, Nestle, Unilever, SABMiller/ Abinbev, GE, Cisco, Standard Bank, FNB/ First Rand, Arcelor-Mittal, Barloworld, MasterCard, Media 24, BPESA and SIEFSA, have committed to work with government to give hope to unemployed young people in the province through this project.
"Tshepo is not just about hope for the youth. It's about hope for us all, for government, private sector and civil society. The private sector's response has been amazing," said Premier Makhura.
Some of the commitments made by the partners include the following:
Microsoft SA will provide one million young people with training opportunities in digital skills. This partnership commits to a mass-scale deployment of the Microsoft Digital Literacy and Virtual Academy Platform.
Coca-Cola has committed to pipeline of young job seekers into internships, learnerships, enterprise/supplier development and jobs across ABI value chain
Shanduka Black Umbrellas is a lead implementing/coordinating project partner with in the evolution and rollout of the Township Marketplace Platform and wider Tshepo one Million Township Economy, township businesses will be assisted by partnership on condition they provide opportunities for young interns/employees.
GIJIMA committed skills and opportunities in ICT value chain, especially data analytics, rolling out a skilled pipeline of young jobseekers, sourced from Tshepo 1 Million, supporting a green building retrofit initiative trade financed against carbon credits or other suitable financing options, targeting properties under ownership and management by provincial government and participating private sector property management entities.
Hollard committed to township panel beating shops serving Hollard drivable repairs, providing links to township marketplace platform, pilot of a specific Hollard insurance product using the network of new panel beaters, to be sold by youth.
Barloworld will partner with the township panel beater network pilot (OEM accreditation), create opportunities for young job seekers across the Barloworld value chain as interns and SED contracts (including technicians), and render support to township firms in mining and construction through concession-priced equipment.
One thousand SMMEs identified through the township marketplace platform supported through FNB accelerator hosting interns/creating employment opportunities as condition of ongoing support, agency opportunity for youth linked to instant financial solutions/value adds.
Standard Bank committed internships, job opportunities and supplier opportunities with standard bank, they will also offer asset finance as support to township marketplace platforms, on condition firms create opportunity for youth, and they will also link skills and enterprise development programmes.
Media 24 committed to an online training programme in writing skills and computer-aided research linked to Tshepo One Million learning lab, develop special internship programme targeting youth without matric qualifications
Power FM has also committed to give Tshepo One Million free advertising airtime worth one million rand.
The unveiling of this initiative took place on the eve of the national Youth Day.