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BUSI KHESWA | GAUTENG YOUTH PROGRAMME HELPS BENEFICIARIES

Busi Kheswa | 13 July 2023

Stats SA’s latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey shows that youths aged 15-24 years and 25-34 years recorded the highest unemployment rates of all age groups at 62.1% and 40.7%, respectively.


Levels of unemployment continue to engulf our thoughts and energy, more so as we believe that sustainable livelihoods programmes will bring about pride, joy and to some extent bestow and restore some level of dignity.


With Gauteng being the most populous province in SA, this number will be quite significant due to a number of reasons including young people migrating from their home provinces in search of better opportunities in the province believed to offer better economic opportunities.


According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, the youth unemployment rate, when measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, rose to 62.1% in the first quarter of 2023, the highest in a year, from 61% in the previous three-month period. Gauteng accounts for the most.


The Gauteng government launched a programme called Tshepo 1 Million to ease pressure on youth. Various departments needed to contribute through various programmes to ensure this could be realised.


As part of contributing to the programme, the Gauteng department of social development is implementing the Welfare-to-Work Programme (W2WP).


This programme includes the recruitment and selection, assessment, placement and on-job development, case management, training and developmental education, support services and job retention services. It readies participants for the job market and provides them with work experience to get and keep jobs.


Initially, the W2WP was developed to support young women who were recipients of child support and foster care grants, but was expanded to assist exiting foster care beneficiaries, victims of gender-based violence, recovering substance abuse patients, women exiting shelters, and all other beneficiaries to transit from welfare into the world of self-sustenance.


The programme incubates individuals for a period of not more than three years, and based on their assessment and educational profile, individuals are linked to a programme aimed at ensuring they can move themselves out of the social security system. Beneficiaries are selected based on socio-economic factors such as:

  • The age cohort (between 18 and 25 years old)

  • Social status factor (from poor backgrounds – based on household profiling from GDSD)

  • Passed matric

  • Participants who are willing to, and are ready to, work

  • Participants willing to, and are ready to, look and take a post-matric qualification/course

Through the programme, the department provides accredited skills training through partnerships with accredited partners in the field of hospitality, fashion design, real estate, photography, beauty therapy and hair dressing, etc.


This is done through partnering with non-profit organisations that train and offer unit standards and/or qualifications that fall within the primary focus area of the education and training quality assurance body of the relevant sector education and training authority or professional body.


There is also job placement where participants are linked to job opportunities within the network of potential employers.


June 28 saw 536 youngsters graduating from this programme. These young people got accredited training in hair, beauty and fashion design as class of 2022/23.


One beneficiary, 30-year-old Thando Femmers who graduated in fashion design through the Sun Goddess Foundation, said he was happy to break the cycle of poverty at home as he’s now the owner of a growing high fashion brand.


“I want to empower people in my community who are hopeless. I was once a member of the community with no aspirations, but I thank Sun Goddess Foundation and the Gauteng department of social development for giving us an opportunity to live a life with purpose.”

Even though these interventions seem scanty given the magnitude of youth employment, the government continues to change lives one step at a time. Key to this change is being consistent and intentional in improving lives for the better through sustainable livelihood and developmental programmes.


• Kheswa is with the Gauteng department of social development


‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.



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