PRETORIA – Job creation, skills development and enabling entrepreneurship for unemployed youth, and beneficiaries for Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and the Compensation Fund (CF) received a major boost on Wednesday when the Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, launched training programmes worth about R7.9 billion.
The programmes were launched in Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), after the UIF and CF entered into partnership agreements with about 32 state-owned training providers and institutions to implement training of close to 160 000 learners over the next few years with the aim of creating jobs and entrepreneurs for youth in KZN and the rest of the country.
Speaking at the launch today, Dlamini-Zuma heaped praise on UIF’s Labour Action Programmes and encouraged the Department of Labour to urgently upscale it to other provinces, especially to the youth in rural and township areas.
“We want this programme to be marketed on a huge scale so that all the youth, particularly those from poor areas can also benefit. The launch of these projects, through the Labour Activation Programme, will go a long way in addressing unemployment, skills development and stimulating economic growth in our country.
“We also call on the private sector to partner with the Department of Labour to address the social ills of the country, especially unemployment and job preservation for our youth,” said Dlamini-Zuma.
She also urged the recruited learners to work hard and complete their training and avoid quitting.
Minister Oliphant said her Department had a duty to transform the labour market and create jobs. “The training will equip learners with critical skills that will enable them to compete for jobs in the labour market or venture into their own businesses.
“Through the Labour Activation Programmes, we have provided funding for learners to be trained in various fields, including piloting, scuba diving and farming,” she said, adding that other learners would be trained to become doctors, psychologists and nurses.
Siphesihle Madlose, one of the learners funded by the Department of Labour, as a first year medical student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, related an emotional story of how he often went to campus not knowing where he could obtain funding to continue his studies.
“It was tough on my family and myself not knowing where I would get funding, but after the Department of Labour assisted me, I was and remain extremely grateful. The entire experience has made me want to be a doctor that will serve the community and I hope the Department of Labour does this for others,” said Mdlalose.
Hlengiwe Ngcobo, who was funded in the scuba diving project, recalled that she did not even know how to swim before she was recruited. “I had finished my photography diploma and did not have money to do my B-tech Degree. However, after undergoing the scuba diving project, I am now a qualified master diver who can teach others.”
The event was attended by the KZN provincial executives, mayors, House of Traditional Leaders and senior government officials, UIF and CF board members.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE