Deputy President David Mabuza says progress has been made in implementing the Youth Accord.
Responding to a question by ANC member of the National Assembly, Andrew Madella, the Deputy President said government, together with its social partners, has undertaken several interventions that are part of the Youth Accord.
Madella had asked what progress has been made in the implementation of commitments of the Youth Employment Accord and also asked what measures are in place to ensure that social partners implement the resolution.
The Deputy President said with regards to government’s commitment on education and training, TVET college enrolments have increased by 6% since 2013.
“This contributes in producing skills that our economy needs right now, as well as in terms of skills for the future to respond to the growth of the economy and changes in its structure.
“In addition to the increase in enrolment, there have been significant efforts to improve the alignment of TVET curricula with industry needs.”
He said the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) between RCL Food & Milling and Ehlanzeni TVET College as well as between Sasol and Gert Sibande TVET College in 2016/17 were steps in the right direction.
“We would also like to see more companies that are in and around TVET colleges support the ‘Adopt-a-TVET College’ initiative of the Human Resource Development Council.”
The Deputy President said the number of students graduating from universities has also increased by 6%, with an upward trend in the number of science, engineering and technology graduates.
He said this was an encouraging development as the country prepared young people for the fourth industrial revolution and the economy of the future.
“Another notable improvement is with regards to SETAs, which have prioritised work placement efforts.
“As a result, 40 000 TVET learners and 30 000 University of Technology students were successfully placed between 2013 and 2016.”
He said that in terms of work exposure and employment, there has been an increase of 18% in the number of young people who were employed on contract positions in national government departments.
He said the number of permanent jobs taken by youth at provincial level has also increased by 9% as well.
“The Department of Labour offers public employment services through its labour centres; this includes work registrations, employment counselling and employment placements.
“To date, about 60% of workers registered and 75% of the workers who underwent counselling and found employment through these centres are youth.”
Young people accessing millions of opportunities
The Deputy President said almost two million youth opportunities have been created through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) since 2013, while a further 150 000 young people have been recruited through other supporting programmes.
“We will be thinking of ways that the EPWP’s impact can be further enhanced and more meaningful work experiences can be provided.
“For example, unemployed graduates with a background in public administration could be employed in public schools as administrative assistants, giving them relevant work experience while allowing teachers to focus more on teaching and less on administration,” he said.
Focus on helping young people to enter mainstream economy
The Deputy President said social partners have agreed that certain sectors, especially new industries, should be youth-focused sectors.
This includes youth target set-asides in the green economy, the infrastructure sector and the business process services sector.
“If we look at public infrastructure in areas such as water and sanitation and the higher education build programme, we find that youth now make up the majority of the employed in a third of all these projects.
“Further agreements on Solar Water Heater installation are to be concluded with certain municipalities.”
He said the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has approved more than R3.5 billion for youth enterprises since the signing of the Accord.
He also said that over R898 million was disbursed by Small Enterprises Finance Agency (SEFA) for youth owned enterprises, supporting a total of 44 140 SMMEs.
The National Empowerment Fund has disbursed over R160 million to youth businesses; and the Gauteng Provincial government has set aside 10% of its procurement budget for youth owned suppliers.
“These numbers give a sense of the scope of our support for youth business and youth entrepreneurship.”
The Deputy President said, meanwhile, that the Youth Job Creation Initiative, launched in 2012, has placed over 35 000 learners and successfully provided learnerships and internships.
“The Youth Employment Services (YES) Initiative is also a positive initiative aimed at creating 1 million paid internships for young people over the next three years.
“We will continue to work with the private sector to find further ways to address the youth jobs crisis. Social partners must place more emphasis on coordinated and sector-specific interventions.”