AS WE commemorate the Soweto youth uprising of 16 June 1976, we must take a moment to pause and reflect on how far we have come in advancing the agenda of youth development. A particular focus has been the economic transformation of young people in eThekwini.
As Onyi Anyando said: “Serving my generation with excellence will in turn mean my generation can lead with excellence.” It is important that as the current leaders, we serve young people with excellence so that they can one day take the baton from us and lead with excellence. The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and we must build a solid foundation to ensure the country will be in capable hands. We are steadily working towards the vision of eThekwini being Africa’s most livable city by 2030. This can only be achieved by ensuring young people of eThekwini gain meaningful economic opportunities to reduce poverty and ensure a secure, stable society. However, we cannot achieve this alone. We have therefore partnered with the private sector and higher education institutions to establish work readiness centres to reduce the number of unemployed graduates.
One such successful partnership is between the Municipality and the Fundamentum Group. In the Shongweni Development, we have established a training centre focusing on artisan skills. We have also embarked on an IT skills development programme where we intend to train one million young people in IT skills over three years through the Isibanisolusha Programme. As part of upskilling the youth, we have established the eThekwini Municipal Academy (EMA) which supports occupationally focused skills programmes for the unemployed, especially the youth. EMA addresses unemployment among the youth which continues to be a challenge. Skills development plays a crucial role to contribute toward addressing high unemployment levels among matriculants and graduates.
The City is addressing this through providing access to:
Permanent employment e.g. In the Metro Police and across Municipal units
Cooperative Education Programmes
Business support programmes
To address the youth unemployment rate and provide skills development, we have through EMA, advertised the Artisan Development Programme. This is will offer training opportunities to young people between the ages of 18 to 35 who aspire to enter industries such as Diesel Mechanics, Millwrights (inclusive of both the Fitting and Electrical Trade), Auto Electrical, Carpentry, v and Electrical.