The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) says some 40% of the more than one million work opportunities created through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) during the past financial year have gone to the youth.
According to a departmental statement, this constitutes at least 415 897 work opportunities for those aged between 18 and 35.
“The programme remains steadfast in creating economic opportunities for poor and unemployed people, including drawing a significant number of young people into the programme through the provision of work and training opportunities,” the department said.
According to the department, the employment opportunities for youth were created through the National Youth Service (NYS) programme and the EPWP Artisan Development Programme, which currently has at least 367 people enrolled.
The NYS created some 9 195 work opportunities for young people during the 2021/22 financial year.
“NYS learners acquire theoretical learning and are placed at various construction sites throughout the country for experiential training in various artisan trades. The NYS initiative is focused on providing young people with skills programme training such as plumbing, painting, paving, welding, and general civil work. The programme also enhances understanding and aspirations of working in the built environment.
“Currently, a total of 367 young people across the country are participating in the EPWP Artisan Development Programme, which is funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training through its National Skills Fund. The DPWI contracted Agricultural Sector Education and Training Authority to implement this training,” the department said.
Some beneficiaries of the programme, such as Mapule Mocwaledi, said the artisan programme has enabled them to make a better life for their families.
“Life has been hard for us at home since the passing of our parents. The EPWP has been my lifeline, as I am able to use the wages I receive from the programme to put food on the table at home.
“The Diesel Mechanic skills I am acquiring from this training have given me an opportunity to also open a small business for myself… I am able to earn an additional income by fixing people’s cars in my community,” Mocwaledi said.