Wed, 17 Jul 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that government will expand the scale of its foremost youth employment programmes in response to one of South Africa's most stubborn economic challenges: youth unemployment.

Ramaphosa was delivering his second State of The Nation Address for the year and the first in the sixth administration of South Africa's democratic government.

Ramaphosa said the National Youth Service, introduced last year, would take on tens of thousands of young South Africans, as well as assisting young entrepreneurs working in sectors linked to new technologies.

"We will expand the National Youth Service to take on 50 000 young people a year. Government will support tech-enabled platforms for self-employed youth in rural areas and townships," said Ramaphosa.

"We will expand our programmes to enable young people to gain paid workplace experience through initiatives like the Youth Employment Service, and also facilitating work-based internships for graduates of technical and vocational programmes," Ramaphosa said.

The president's plan for jobs

In May, South Africa's unemployment rate increased to 27.6% in the first quarter of 2019, according to Stats SA.

The jobless rate at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018 was 27.1%, meaning the rate increased by half a percentage point.

In his February State of The Nation Address, Ramaphosa told South Africa that government had been working with social partners to address unemployment, following a jobs summit which took place in 2018.

Ramaphosa said the Expanded Public Works Program would continue to provide work opportunities to the most vulnerable young job seekers, and that subjects such as coding and data analytics would be introduced at a basic schooling level, to respond to the fourth industrial revolution.

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