20 June 2019

South Africa: New Plans to Put Youth At Work

With the country moving towards implementing Vision 2030, government will place special focus on youth development and employment.

"The fact that the unemployment rate among young South Africans is more than 50% is a national crisis that demands urgent, innovative and coordinated solutions," President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

Figures from Statistics South Africa are showing that increasingly more young people are out of work despite them being a major human resource for development, key agents for social change, economic expansion and innovation.

National Youth Service

Announcing mechanisms and interventions to address the immediate needs of the country's youth - President Ramaphosa said government will expand the National Youth Service (NYS) to take on 50 000 young people a year.

NYS under the NYDA is the single largest service programme for young people in the country. It gets young people involved in activities and provides various services to their communities which contributes positively and adds value to their learning and personal development. These activities are in line with the national development objectives.

The President said it is therefore essential that government proceeds without delay to implement a comprehensive plan which will be driven and coordinated from the Presidency.

He said this will create no fewer than two million new jobs for young people within the next decade.

"This plan will work across government departments and all three tiers of government, in partnership with the private sector."

The President said they have already started working with the private sector to create pathways into work for young people through scaling up existing pathway management networks.

These networks - he explained - will allow young people who opt in increased visibility, network support and opportunities to signal their availability for jobs and self-employment.

"They make sure that youth from poorer households - and young women in particular - are empowered to take up the new opportunities."

Expanded Public Works Programme

Government will continue to provide employment through the Expanded Public Works Programme especially in labour intensive areas like maintenance, clearing vegetation, plugging water leaks and constructing roads.

EPWP projects employ workers on a temporary or on-going basis either by government, contractors or other non-governmental organisations.

Another step will be the developing programmes to ensure that economically excluded young people are work ready and absorbed into sectors where 'jobs demand' is growing.

These sectors include global business processing services, agricultural value chains, technical installation, repair and maintenance and new opportunities provided through the digital economy and the fourth industrial revolution.

President Ramaphosa said government will also ensure that young people are employed in social economy jobs such as early childhood development and health care.

In rural areas and townships - government will support tech-enabled platforms for self-employed youth.

Youth Employment Service

"We will expand our programmes to enable young people to gain paid workplace experience through initiatives like the Youth Employment Service, and also facilitating work-based internships for graduates of technical and vocational programmes."

Government will also be rolling out small business incubation centres to provide youth-driven start-ups with financial and technical advice as they begin their journeys.

Youth forefront of innovation

With these youth interventions, President Ramaphosa is confident that the country will develop.

"They are entrepreneurs and community builders, activists and artists. They want to be employed, yes, but they also want to become employers.

"They are brimming with ideas, they are at the forefront of innovation, and they want to do things for themselves.

"We have to support the fire of entrepreneurship, because the fortunes of this country depend on the energies and creative talent of our young people."

Buy Local

Meanwhile, the President called on South Africans to stimulate local demand and grow South African manufacturing by making sure they 'Buy Local'.

"We call on all South Africans to deliberately and consistently buy locally-made goods. Let us all buy locally-made goods to drive up demand in our economy," said President Ramaphosa, who announced that the suit he was wearing was locally made by workers at the House of Monatic in Saltriver Cape Town.

In order to ensure that the 'Buy Local' campaign is everywhere, government will conclude agreements with retailers to stock more South African goods on their shelves and to actively promote the great products made by South African hands.

At the same time, government aims to promote South African products more actively to the rest of the African continent and the world.

"These measures are underpinned by our strong commitment to a macroeconomic and fiscal policy framework that will continue to boost confidence and investment."

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