South Africa Government

06/15/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/15/2021 06:20

Western Cape Government on creating opportunities for young people in the province

Ahead of Youth Day tomorrow, the Provincial Cabinet jointly honours the youth of your province and uses the opportunity to commit wholeheartedly to building a Western Cape that is full of opportunities, that is safe, and where our young people have dignity.

Premier Winde said: 'Through the Western Cape Government's Recovery Plan, we are working to create jobs, and to uphold the dignity, safety and wellbeing of all residents in the province, especially for our youth. I am proud to lead a government which believes in its young people and that actively works to create opportunities for them.'

'We are creating opportunities for young people in the province'

Speaking to the importance of creating opportunities for young people, Provincial Minister of Education, Minister Debbie Schäfer said: 'What we need to do in education is to ensure that young people are equipped to be productive members of society, so we are focusing on improving the foundation phase to ensure that the basic skills are in place for the rest of their school careers. In high schools, we are doing everything possible to expand the options available to our learners, especially the technical and vocational skills, including IT, which are much needed in our economy.'

The Western Cape Government continues to support its young people as the Western Cape is the top performer in both early literacy (PIRLS) and Science and Mathematics (TIMSS). We also have the highest retention rate in the country - more of our grade 10s are staying to write matric than any other province. Around 17 000 extra learners from other provinces join WC schools each year seeking better education opportunities.

Speaking to the opportunities provided by his Department to young people, the Provincial Minister of Human Settlements, Tertius Simmers, said: 'We are convinced that by upskilling our young people, it will ensure they can become entrepreneurs, create opportunities for other young people and acquire meaningful employment. We are currently using 21 contractors with youth representation on current projects and include socio-economic empowerment targets in tenders with a core focus on the youth, which is strictly enforced.'

The Provincial Department of Human Settlements has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC). Through this partnership a training programme was developed providing a 3-day Construction Technical Training initiative for Emerging Contractors, targeting women and youth.

The Provincial Department of Transport and Public Works is also focused on empowering emerging contractors.

Provincial Minister of Transport and Public Works, Daylin Mitchell said: 'Applications are currently open for the Masakh' iSizwe Bursary Programme for studies in Transport, Engineering and the Built Environment sector for the 2022 academic year. We also offer training in bricklaying, electrical, carpentry, plumbing and other skills, through our EPWP programme for people between the age of 18 -34 across the Western Cape. The Department has also recruited a total of 90 participants, all youth, to undergo a 12-month traffic officer's training course at Gene Louw Traffic College in Brackenfell which will start on 1 February 2021.'

Through the Provincial Department of Agriculture, we are actively promoting the involvement of young people in the farming sector, a major sector of the Western Cape's economy.

The Provincial Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, said: 'It is our firm belief that supporting the youth underpins food security, for now, and in the future, given the challenges of the average age of a farmer in South Africa, which is over 60. Our support to youth farmers includes grant funding, extension and advisory services, mentorship and access to markets, which forms the basis for agricultural development in the Western Cape.'

Through the Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute, the Department of Agriculture also offers market-driven training programmes to young people to stimulate sustainable economic growth and contribute to food security through human capital development. The youth are also targeted for drone technology training, which is an enabler for agricultural growth.

Speaking to opportunities created for young people in the economy, Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, said: 'We are working hard, through our skills development programme, to create more opportunities for young people to get the right qualifications, the right skills and the right experience for jobs available now and in the future. Creating a highly-skilled talent pipeline of young people also makes us globally competitive so we can attract the investment needed to grow the economy and create jobs in the Western Cape.'

The Skill Development Programme works in partnership with government, education and training institutes, civil society and business to create experiential learning and work placement opportunities for unemployed youth in the Western Cape. Through our Work and Skills programme, for example, 1 166 full-time jobs were created in the Business Process Operating (BPO) sector in the last financial year. And, as a result of the success of our Work and Skills programme, we have allocated a further R98,82 million over the medium term to provide 3 000 unemployed youth with experiential learning opportunities in the BPO sector.

The Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning is creating opportunities for young people by employing student graduates in various units and often hosts students that have to, as part of their studies, complete Work-Integrated- Learning to graduate.

'We believe in providing support to young people who are the future. The Department celebrates a number of global environmental days and on such occasions rolls out programs on environmental education and awareness as part of the celebrations. The main focus of these events are school learners. We also have province-wide awareness campaigns in schools where we do training and briefings to children on fire safety, basic first aid and drowning prevention,' said Provincial Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell.

'We are determined to create safer communities for young people'

We know that safe communities are essential for our youth to thrive, and that more must be done to ensure that no young person lives in fear in our province.

Speaking to this important priority, the Provincial Minister of Community Safety, Advocate Albert Fritz, said: 'Looking back, my experience of 16 June 1976 was one of my peers and me taking responsibility for what was happening around us. We made the conscious decision to stand in solidarity with students in Soweto. We took responsibility, and we said we want to see change. That spirit needs to be inculcated again. Today the struggle is to build one prosperous South Africa for all. We need our young people to take responsibility and play an active role.'

The Provincial Department of Community Safety has launched its Youth Safety Ambassador Programme, which has appointed and deployed 1000 young people across the province to assist as violence prevention monitors in their communities.

Speaking to her Department's multi-dimensional approach to youth development, the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sports, Anroux Marais, said: 'Our Arts and Culture programme offers drama workshops, songwriting classes, dance programmes and more to encourage our young artists to hone and showcase their skills. Through our Sports programme, we offer youth support and opportunities to participate at various levels and to be acknowledged for their achievements.'

'Our flagship programme, YearBeyond, launched in 2015, has grown substantially. It currently has around 1 000 youth in service across the Western Cape. This provides youth under 25 with an opportunity to serve their communities by working in libraries, clinics, government offices, schools and NGOs. They work as the 'big brothers and sisters' of children in these spaces, build a culture of reading and help improve the service orientation of public-facing offices'.

'We are working to promote the wellbeing for young people in the province'

We are committed to furthering the wellbeing of young people in the Western Cape. While this is done through creating job opportunities and building safer communities, it also requires that important services are provided to our young people so that they have dignity.

Speaking to her Department's role in promoting the wellbeing of young people, the Provincial Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, said: 'In April 2017, the Western Cape launched an Adolescent and Youth Friendly Services (AYFS) initiative aimed at assisting adolescents with barriers in accessing health services. It addresses this by making services more attractive to young people and retaining them within care to support ongoing needs as they develop into adulthood.'

'I would like to encourage our young people to make use of our youth-friendly clinics. Some clinics have a dedicated youth clinic after hours to accommodate school-going youth. The facilities see on average 2000-5000 adolescents per month. Services offered range from sexual and reproductive healthcare including STI management and contraception, pregnancy testing, counselling and management, HIV counselling and testing, HIV prevention including pre-exposure prophylaxis, HIV care, psychosocial support services, general health and well-being including general medical conditions.'

The Department of Social Development is also working to promote the wellbeing of young people and does so by providing a wide array of youth programmes and interventions.

The Provincial Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, said: 'R14.974 million has been budgeted towards ensuring that at least 10 000 youth in the province are provided with opportunities to access skills and personal development programmes.'

'The Department also offers social crime prevention programmes such as child and youth care centres for at-risk youth and deploys social workers who assist us in our mandate of child protection, and we maintain safe spaces for vulnerable women and children.'

'We understand the value of our youth, who are the future of our country. We have a vision we want to realise, and that is to help every young person in the Western Cape to be an inspired, educated, responsible, independent, healthy and productive citizen with positive personal, family and social relations,' concluded Minister Fernandez.

'The Western Cape honours you, this Youth Day'

On behalf of the Provincial Cabinet, Premier Alan Winde thanked the Western Cape's youth for all they do in their communities and encouraged all young people help build a better Western Cape.

'Today, we honour and thank you for all you do, and we commit, as your elected government, to work even harder to deliver a society that has jobs, that is safe, and where you can live with dignity. We know there is still a lot of work to be done, but I am confident that if we work together, there is nothing we cannot achieve.'