Youth Urged to Take up Opportunities
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has urged youth to take up the opportunities available to them to turn the tide on youth unemployment.
“Government initiatives like the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) exist to assist with the rehabilitation and maintenance of our infrastructure, and the NYDA [National Youth Development Agency] has a job programme,” said Sisulu.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has recently introduced the Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative, which aims to prepare young people for work through training and matching programmes. The programme is a business-led initiative in partnership with government, labour and civil society. It will offer one million young South Africans paid work experience over the next three years.
Sisulu was speaking at a Youth Day celebration at Grace Bible Church in Soweto, Johannesburg, on Sunday. She was accompanied by the Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian.
The Minister’s call, comes a day after the June 16 commemoration in Orlando Stadium in Soweto, where President Ramaphosa delivered the keynote address.
Every year on June 16, South Africa commemorates the youth of 1976, who took to the streets in protest against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.
This year, the country commemorates Youth Month under the theme ’Live the legacy: Towards a socio-economically empowered youth’.
Songtian donated 60 computers for the Minister to give to schools. Three schools are in line to benefit from this donation, while the church received one computer lab.
“The youth are to use these computers not only to learn computer skills but also to teach computer. We will get in touch with Seta [Sector Education and Training Authority],” said the Minister.
While 67 million young people are unemployed globally, Sisulu said these are worrying statistics, as youth unemployment sits at seven million in the country.
“Fifty percent of graduates cannot find work. We have to do something urgently. We have to start somewhere,” said Sisulu.
She echoed the President’s call for companies to assist government and lend a hand by employing the youth and equipping them with skills.
“Much needs to be done for us to match the skills globally. Our youth should be able to have paid work experience. We call on companies to sponsor salaries while skilling youth,” said Sisulu