Youth unemployment programme changing lives – Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing supporters at the ANC manifesto launch in Church Square, Pretoria, 27 September 2021. Picture: The Citizen/Jacques Nelles

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the youth employment programme is changing lives in South Africa.

Ramaphosa was addressing the nation in his weekly news letter ‘From the Desk of the President.’

The president said he was recently shown an inspiring and deeply touching post on a Facebook group for participants in government’s school assistant programme.

He said at the end of August, the second cohort of 245 000 young people will finish their ten-month placement in schools.

“They will join the ranks of approximately 600 000 young South Africans that have participated in the initiative since its launch in 2020.”

“This young man’s words capture the essence of this outstanding programme. The school assistant programme is part of the Presidential Employment Stimulus, the largest youth employment intervention in our country’s history, which has to date reached close to a million participants,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa said of approximately 60 000 teachers and principals surveyed, more than 95% said the programme has greatly improved the learning environment in our schools and want it to continue.

“They say it has enabled them to focus more of their time on teaching. Beyond the monthly stipend, the programme has provided young people with work experience and skills. They have received accredited training across several disciplines, ranging from digital literacy to basic bookkeeping, from child and youth care to bricklaying, plastering and plumbing.”

Ramaphosa added that having provided opportunities to thousands of young people, South Africa now needs to open their path to formal employment, further education or entrepreneurship.

“There are already many opportunities for people leaving the programme. The Youth Employment Service aims to place many of these young people in work experience positions in companies and the National Youth Development Agency will help those with business ideas.”

Ramaphosa has called on government’s partners and business, to harness the energies, talent, skills and experience of these young people to grow the economy.

“The quality work experience and training provided by this programme addresses the concerns of many businesses that young applicants lack skills and experience. We call on businesses to participate in this process by taking advantage of the Employment Tax Incentive to hire more young people and create learnerships.”

Ramaphosa said government’s partners and businesses can use the platform to publicise opportunities that exist in their companies.

Faizel Patel/ The Citizen