Creating half a million jobs a year for young people is a possibility‚ President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday during the launch of the Youth Employment Service (YES).
The initiative‚ according to Ramaphosa‚ was conceived 18 months ago and while it is set to create 330‚000 jobs for young people‚ he is hopeful the number will increase.
“It is possible to ramp it up to 500‚000‚” Ramaphosa said.
He said the initiative was responding to the “greatest and pressing” socio-economic challenge that is unemployment.
“We know that the depth of youth unemployment is huge and therefore we have to respond. Although the obstacles [young people face] are daunting‚ we have resources to overcome the obstacles.”
Ramaphosa said the government was working towards improving the quality of learning to ensure that young people complete matric.
“What is concerning is that one million young people enter the schooling system and only half a million make it to metric.”
He said the government in partnership with business would create more programmes aimed at alleviating youth unemployment.
“We need effective and sustainable programmes to prepare young people for first-time employment. This demonstrates that we are a country on the move. We will be coming up with further initiatives to address youth unemployment‚” Ramaphosa said.
The YES initiative aims to see more than one million young people being offered paid work experience over the next three years‚ as part of placing the needs of young people at the centre of inclusive economic growth.
The initiative takes the form of a partnership – led by Ramaphosa – between government‚ business‚ labour and civil society.