JOHANNESBURG - The city of Johannesburg's library department has collaborated with Google SA to provide free online-training in digital and entrepreneurial skills programmes in 12 of its eLearning classrooms, the mayor's office said on Friday.

Johannesburg has a population of around 4.9 million people and officials say there is growing concern about its ability to create a sustainable future for them, with the city currently sitting on an unemployment rate of 25 perent, of which 31.4 percent comprises youth between the ages of 16 and 35.

"In order for the city to tackle the evil twins of unemployment and poverty, the city needs to implement programmes that target the youth to ensure that they are equipped with tools that are relevant for today’s society," the member of mayoral committee for community development Nonhlanhla Sifumba said.

"This will go a long way in contributing towards the priority of growing the economy of the city to five percent by 2021 as proclaimed by the current administration."

The courses’ content will be accessed by registering free of charge to be a student at the centres via an e-learning portal and the programmes will be self-paced and done either in groups or individually with the support of trained facilitators in the eClassroom facilities.

For every course completed, Google will issue endorsed certificates that can be added to the students’ qualifications or courses completed.

The targeted libraries are in Diepsloot, Ivory Park, Westbury, Cosmo City, Jabavu, Emdeni, Sandton, Alexandra, Johannesburg city centre,  Poortjie, Eldorado and Orange Farm.

- African News Agency (ANA)