People who attended the official opening of a skills training centre at Kwa-Mhlanga in Mpumalanga on Monday have been told that entrepreneurship is one of the key means to address the challenges of unemployment among the youth.
The centre, which is a collaboration of the province’s Public Works Department and a private company, is aimed at providing skills that will allow the youth to participate in the mainstream economy.
Mpumalanga Transport MEC Mohita Latchminarain says: “We entered into a partnership with Agri, in terms of how do you develop the skills of youth so that they are able to go out and get employment. Remember the unemployment rate is very high. We are looking at welding and plumbing as well as water reticulation. If you look at these, these are things that are mostly needed in government departments, not only in private sector as well.”
Experts concerned about youth unemployment
Experts are expressing concern about the massive youth unemployment problem that persists in South Africa.
Former Statistician General Padi Lehohla says access to quality education is the only answer for dealing with the high youth unemployment. Others say the government needs to liberalise the economy to create conditions for job creation.
Research by Statistics SA shows that a growing number of young people have been discouraged by the labour market and are also not building on their skills base through education and training.
Lehohla says government’s youth employment programs are not enough to adequately deal with the problem.
“A million less among the 15 to 24 were employed in 2020 compared to 2008. 500 000 were employed in the 25 to 34 level in 2020 compared to 2008. Now tell me whether there’s a youth programme which actually supports this? The story is very disturbing, yet the President says we have employed so many among the youth. The figures don’t support that, who gives the President the numbers? The Statistician-General presents the numbers, who are the bureaucrats who then advise the President on this for him to make this kind of statement,” says Lehohla.
In the video below, Servest Acting Human Resource Director, Melanie Ann Bauer, speaks about tackling youth unemployment: