GEORGE NEWS - About 300 young Georgians attended an event at the Conville Community Hall on Tuesday, where minister Beverly Schäfer of the Western Cape Department of Economic Opportunities launched a pilot programme to help provide a gateway for young people to find jobs. The programme is called Youth on the Move: Gateway to opportunities.
Schäfer said she spoke to local businesses and the message from them was that they have the jobs, but no one is interested. "So my job as minister is to provide the gate to those opportunities. But to get the experience you need you to have to get that first job."
She said the responsibility of getting a job or a career sometimes falls on the youth because their parents and grandparents do not work. "This means they cannot help their children to set up a CV and apply for a job. But just having a smartphone can help you apply for a job, set up your CV and look for opportunities."
Schäfer said it is not her job or that of the government to create jobs - that is what businesses are for. "But if you sit at home and do not want to study, you will not be able to understand how new technology works," she warned.
Schäfer has committed to unlocking 250 000 youth opportunities over the next five years through the Youth on the Move programme. The programme is designed to be implemented at a district or local municipal level to reach young people within communities - that is why it will be implemented here in George, said Schäfer.
Take jobs to the people
Jonathan Fortuin, project coordinator of youth development at the municipality, told George Herald that there are work opportunities in George, but they need to take it to the people, as not everyone can buy a newspaper or have data to go online. People also often don't have transport money to go to the interview, or face other travelling obstacles.
He said most young people get despondent after applying time and again for a job and not getting any feedback. He feels the youth are disappointed in the job market, and that they never get jobs they apply for.
"I also believe that on-the-job training is very important, because job experience can land you the job you want."
Fortuin was pleased that the presence of businesses at the event offered the youth the chance to ask their questions and get answers. The pilot programme will start in the Garden Route District Municipality in collaboration with the George Municipality and the Garden Route Skills Mecca initiative.
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