Youth affirm commitment to Employment Accord

Diana-Kerubo-Mongare

Youth movements have reaffirmed their commitment to the Youth Employment Accord, which was signed in April last year, as the framework for youth employment.

“We support the scaled up implementation of the Youth Employment Accord, with clear targets to be set for each of the pillars of the Accord,” said the youth in their declaration at the Presidential Youth Indaba on Jobs and Skills.

The youth organisations were led by the South African Youth Council (SAYC) drawn from political formations, faith based organisations, young people with disabilities, student formations and rural youth, among others.

The Accord, which was signed on 18 April last year, makes several commitments to improve education and skilling of young people, and helping them to find jobs and start their businesses. In it, government also commits to increase the number of people employed in the public sector, while certain industries are to set youth development targets.

The Youth Indaba kicked off on Friday at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg.  Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Collins Chabane and Deputy Minister Obed Bapela as well as Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel were among those who attended the conference.

NSC Second Chance programme

In his address to the Indaba, attended by youth from across the province, President Jacob Gedleyhlekisa Zuma said that the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA)   was continuing to run its successful National Senior Certificate (NSC) Second Chance Matric Rewrite Programme. The programme affords young people who have failed matric, a second chance to obtain their National Senior Certificate.

The youth expressed its support for the programme.

To date, more than 8 000 young people have been assisted to rewrite their matric with the 2013 results indicating a 78% pass rate.    

“We support a bigger focus on second-chance matric. This must include work preparedness programmes,” noted the youth in their declaration on Sunday.

FET colleges            

Meanwhile, government is building 12 new FET campuses across the country, mostly in rural areas.

“We support the plan to expand the number of FET college campuses,” noted the youth, also adding their support for the setting up of community colleges to provide a wider range of education and training pathways for young people.

Internship programmes

The youth called for improved internship programmes in the state and the private sector.

“Within the state, we call for improvement of the number of internships, starting with 20 000 a year from 2014 and rising progressively to 60 000 a year by 2018, resulting in a total of 200 000 young people given an opportunity of first work experience through government, within the next five years.”   

President Zuma in his address had also noted that all was not plain sailing for youth when it came to looking for that first work experience and first funding for entrepreneurs.

“Within the private sector, we call on companies to significantly scale up internships to five percent of total employment by 2019,” added the youth.

Youth organisations

Additionally the youth called on youth organisations to work with state funding agencies like the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) as well as the NYDA to roll out funding for viable youth owned enterprises.

The youth called on the next generation Millennium Development Goals to contain youth development targets and for South Africa to propagate this view in discussions in the BRICS and United Nations.

“We call for more action to create youth cooperatives and to expand involvement of young people in co-operatives. We welcome efforts to bring young people in the rural areas into skills and jobs,” the youth said.

Presidential Youth Working Group

Additionally the decision by the President to set up a Presidential Youth Working Group was welcomed.

The indaba was the platform for the creation of the group composed of different stakeholders, who will meet with the President from time to time to appraise him on the progress of the implementation of the Indaba Declaration.

“We [also] strongly support the right of protest and free expression on issues of youth and we condemn strongly any resort to violence or destruction of property,” said the youth. – SAnews.gov.za

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