by Thalia Swanepoel

New hope for unemployed youth

Young people are under enormous pressure to find employment

Young people are under enormous pressure to find employment
New hope for unemployed youth

Pressure felt by young people regarding poverty, unemployment and inequality should soon be improved with the promise by the provincial government to spend R19 million on skills development during the 2013-2014 financial year.

Speaking to potential employers during a provincial jobs fair and job summit in Potchefstroom, North West Premier Thandi Modise said young people, especially graduates, were under enormous pressure to find employment.

Modise said her administration was aware of the challenges faced by the youth and was confident that labour minister Mildred Oliphant would assist the province in addressing its problems.

The premier said that according to the Census 2011 report, the North West was home to about 3.5-million inhabitants, and the economy in the province had grown at 2.7%, which was miniscule compared to the National Development Plan’s 5.4% requirement for the creation of 11 million jobs by 2030.

She said the mining sector contributed 30% to the overall provincial gross domestic product, with manufacturing at 4.9%, agriculture at 2% and community service at 11.7%.

Modise noted that the North West was faced with a predominantly poor population that was highly dependent on social grants. There was also an uneven distribution of limited and available resources that inhibited service delivery and economic growth. She said the possibility of job shedding by the mining sector was another potential problem.

During her speech, Oliphant said: “The focus of the government is the creation of decent work. Hence, we have set in motion the process of amending critical areas of legislation like labour relations and basic conditions of employment. This job summit, in partnership with the department of labour, has been seen by many young people as an opportunity to find a long-lasting solution to unemployment and poverty.”

Provincial government spokesperson Lesiba Kgwele said: “Social partners in attendance committed to sustainable and practical declarations to create jobs for young people. The summit was also characterised by a job fair that created opportunities for job seekers and unemployed graduates to meet with prospective employers and other institutions that can assist with their placement in different forms of employment or learning opportunities.”

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Issue 58