Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel. Photo: Gareth Smit

Cape Town - Government will hand unemployed youth a second chance in the form of internships, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said on Thursday.

“We set ourselves a target that we want to get five percent of every department's employment to be internship opportunities for young people,” he said at a youth jobs and skills indaba at the Good Hope Centre in Cape Town.

“What's important about that is we don't ask for experience. This is targeted at people who have never worked a day in their life, who have no CV except their educational qualifications and this will give them a second chance.”

He said over 20 000 government internships were offered last year, the majority in provincial departments and state-owned companies.

The Western Cape was host to the first provincial report back since the Presidential Indaba on Youth Jobs and Skills held in Johannesburg in February.

Patel said that since the signing of the Youth Employment Accord in April last year to December, 343 000 jobs had been created for young people.

The majority of these were in Gauteng, followed by the Western Cape and Mpumalanga.

These figures differed to those provided by President Jacob Zuma in a speech following his indaba in February.

At the time, Zuma said 420 000 new jobs had been created for the youth since the adoption of the accord.

Economic development spokesman Manelisi Wolela was not immediately available to comment on the difference in figures.

The Good Hope Centre was packed with youth who sang struggle songs and clapped loudly for Patel, Deputy Minister in the Presidency Obed Bapela, and Deputy Human Settlements Minister Zou Kota-Fredericks.