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Lunga Simelane | 20 January 2023

A sign on a factory gate in Anderbolt, Boksburg. 12 November 2020. Picture: Neil McCartney

With the recovery of youth unemployment lagging, it is clear a lot more work still needs to be done.

In a response to the Gauteng youth, the oversight committee of the premier’s office and the legislature held a report back session on the commitment made at a youth workshop to address unemployment in January last year.

The committee presented its strategies to tackle unemployment and open doors for the youth to enter the mainstream economy as active participants. It noted the status of the youth was desperate and more needed to be done.

Quality of education must be improved

According to the report, the quality of basic education and outcomes, high pupil drop-out/ failure/repetition rates, creation of employment, support of young entrepreneurs and the self-employed, and the promotion of mental health and well-being needed to be improved.

Several other aspects which also required improvement were “teenage pregnancies, gender-based violence and femicide, crime, violence corruption, apathy, social and moral fibre decline and youth in conflict with the law”.

The committee detailed its Gauteng Integrated Youth Development Strategy (GIYDS) objective, which included integrating youth development into the mainstream of policies, programme strategies and the provincial budget.

The plan was inclusive of five strategic pillars and proposed interventions which would focus on:

  • Quality education, skills and second chances;

  • Economic transformation, entrepreneurship and job creation;

  • Physical and mental health promotion including Covid;

  • Social cohesion and nation-building; and

  • Effective and responsive youth development machinery.

“The Youth Directorate in the [object-oriented programming] is the custodian of the GIYDS and it will work closely with the MEC responsible for youth development to coordinate the implementation of the GIYDS 2030, with the support of the Gauteng Youth Advisory Panel,” the report stated.

Unemployment a ‘ticking time bomb’

It also revealed the progress on youth employment as at the end of quarter two of 2022-23. In skills development, 310 unemployed youths were trained in automotive skills in collaboration with Tshepo 1million, 98 trained in information and communications technology skills and 38 606 youth participated in skills development programmes.

Youth employment progress consisted of 38 561 youth accessing economic opportunities/income generating programmes, 10 226 beneficiaries participated in the welfare to work programme and 573 work opportunities were created through Tshepo 1million.

The issue of youth unemployment was a national crisis and viewed as a ticking time bomb. Concerns were raised regarding the efficiency of the Tshepo 1million programme in reducing youth unemployment in Gauteng as several young people weighed in on its ineffectiveness, non-inclusivity and failing system.

The unemployment rate among young people was hovering around 68%.

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


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