FEDHASA Cape executive officer, Rema Wiese, pictured with FEDHASA Cape chairperson, Jeff Rosenberg, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith and Head of Social Entrepreneurship at the City of Cape Town, Mandisa Banjwa. Picture: Bruce Sutherland/City of Cape Town

Cape Town - The employment prospects of at least fifty youth from various communities in need in Cape Town have been given a boost by the extension of a memorandum of agreement between the City of Cape Town and the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa.

The agreement between the City's Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department and Fedhasa was originally signed in 2016, to provide workplace training for 20 young people.

“We are extremely excited to be able to partner with the City of Cape Town on the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) programme for the second year running, especially seeing that the numbers have grown to 50 interns. Many of the FEDHASA Cape member establishments have come on board and they will be providing hands on experience and insights into the very demanding world of Hospitality. We look forward to growing and expanding this programme with the City of Cape Town and ensuring that many of the interns are in a position to secure permanent employment as a result,” said FEDHASA Cape chairperson, Jeff Rosenberg.

In 2016, the City and FEDHASA Cape signed an agreement for a pilot project that saw 20 young people placed with various FEDHASA Cape members to gain valuable on-the-job experience. Seven of the participants eventually secured permanent employment.

Now, the pilot project has paved the way for 50 candidates who will participate in phase two of the agreement, which started on Sunday. The candidates will be selected from the City's transversal youth development database of young people who have already completed work and employment readiness training initiated by the City.

In terms of the Memorandum of Agreement, FEDHASA Cape’s member establishments will initiate and follow their own in-house training criteria and framework to accomplish the objective of enhancing the participants' chances of permanent employment, while the City will pay them a stipend from Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) funding.

“A benefit of partnerships such as this is that the work experience and training gained during the period of subsidised work improves longer-term employment prospects. Youth unemployment remains a major concern countrywide and impacts negatively on the welfare of young people. It is for this reason that we need to create job opportunities through partnerships with the private sector for the benefit of our youth,” said the City of Cape Town's Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

One hundred names will be selected from the City's Transversal Youth Development's database. All prospective candidates must also be registered on the City's jobseeker's database as per the City's Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) policy. The selection criteria will include a character trait assessment to ensure that the youth selected not only fit into the hospitality industry, but show an interest to work in the industry.

Fifty young people will then be selected to participate in the 12-month programme which focusses on the industry and outlining the objectives and expectations linked to the programme. Once candidates are placed, they'll be mentored against a list of agreed outcomes with quarterly progress evaluations. The overarching aim is to ensure that candidates are absorbed either temporarily or permanently into the hospitality industry at the end of the programme.

The programme aligns with the City's Organisational Development and Transformation Plan, as it creates the potential for economic inclusion.

Participants from phase 1 received either full-time employment, internships or contracts at various businesses such as CPU Fedics, Southern Sun Waterfront, Peninsula All-Suite Hotel and Sanlam Food Court.

“This is but one initiative under way to improve the prospects of young people in our city. We are also in the third year of our #YouthstartCT entrepreneurship challenge and we also do ongoing youth capacity-building and workplace skills training. I am heartened by the continuation of this partnership with FEDHASA Cape and I call on other industries to consider similar undertakings if they haven't already set the ball rolling. An investment in our young people is a much-needed investment in a more prosperous future for all,” added Alderman Smith.

Cape Argus