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Youth employment remains top priority in WC

Youth empowerment opportunities provided by the Western Cape government to minimise unemployment. Picture: Supplied

Youth empowerment opportunities provided by the Western Cape government to minimise unemployment. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 11, 2022


Former Premier’s Advancement of Youth Project (PAY) students have encouraged other youths to enrol in the programme.

The project aims to give youth their first employment opportunity through a year-long internship programme for skills development and training for candidates to be more employable.

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The PAY project is open to candidates younger than 24 years old who have completed their matric year and who come from financially constrained households.

Ronique Wilson, a BA Psychology graduate and YearBeyond Alumna, encouraged youth to apply and become part of the programme and start to pave a way for themselves.

Born and raised in Manenberg on the Cape Flats, Ronique said she was determined to improve her own life and applied to be part of the YearBeyond youth in-service programme.

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‘’If it wasn’t for my 10-month journey with YearBeyond, I wouldn't have been as confident as I am today. Now I believe in my voice. I am able to send a message. Youths who will embark on this journey will not only give back to the community, but they will also gain from the programme, professionally, emotionally and mentally.

‘’When I think of all the endless possibilities that the programme can give a young person, it will be a great attribute for any young person to join this programme. The YearBeyond, in every possible way, connects you to opportunities,’’ she said.

The programmes offer unemployed youth, who have finished Matric, an opportunity to give back to their communities by being reading champions, scout leaders, education activators in communities or helping learners in under-resourced schools address learning losses.

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Another Alumna of the programme, Siphokazi Ngxowa, shared her life-changing experiences with the programme. She said that the programme also provided her with mentors who helped her overcome her shortcomings.

Explaining her self-discovery journey, Ngxowa said: ’’I came out of the programme very confident in my capabilities, and I saw myself grow through competencies by the programme. I gained total control of myself through the choice theory training provided to us by our mentors from the programme.’’

The DA’s Ricardo Mackenzie said: ‘’The PAY project is just one of the initiatives that the Western Cape Government has to support our young people in finding work and combating the record-breaking youth unemployment rate in the country.

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‘’Since 2012, more than 5 000 young people have come through the programme and enjoyed internships in all 13 of the provincial departments, exposing them to important skills development and training opportunities, which help set them up for their next job and supports them building their careers,’’ he said.

Addressing youth unemployment has remained a priority for the provincial government as more than 600 interns were placed in the last year despite the impact of the lockdown restrictions on workplaces.

With the youth unemployment rate currently at 46.3%, the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports’ YearBeyond Programme is also open and calls on unemployed youth aged between 18 and 25 to apply to be part of the exciting service programme.

Since its launch in 2015, the YearBeyond Programme has been addressing the issue of youth unemployment in South Africa.

MEC of Cultural Affairs and Sports, Anroux Marais, said: “It is crucial that we offer our youth a hand up to get them started on their professional careers. Many of our young people do not have access to opportunities for further training after school, and the YearBeyond Programme aims to bridge that gap while also giving them the opportunity to give back to their community.

‘’YearBeyond provides participants with a meaningful work experience, a pathway into studies or work and a social and economic network,” she said.

All candidates who qualify for either of the programmes are encouraged to apply by visiting the Western Cape Government website.

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