WCG continues to drive economic opportunities ahead of Worker's Day
Today, our country and province commemorates Worker's Day. As we do so, the Western Cape Government remains steadfastly committed to creating an enabling environment in which businesses, both small and large, can thrive and create jobs.
Said Premier Alan Winde: “The Covid-19 pandemic and hard lockdown have resulted in many facing loss of employment or the inability to find a workplace opportunity, placing extreme pressure on their households. While the Western Cape has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, we were no exception to the economic impact of the lockdown. For this reason, the Western Cape Government is continuing to drive initiatives to support the economy and create work opportunities.”
This work continues as we urgently implement our Western Cape Recovery Plan with its three pillars, namely Jobs, Safety and Dignity. These pillars are interlinked. The Jobs pillar focuses on creating an enabling environment for job creation, which will ultimately improve wellbeing and safety.
The enabling environment to grow the economy and create jobs will be achieved by focusing on the following themes:
- Ease of Doing Business
- Boosting investment and exports
- Boosting infrastructure
- Increasing work opportunities
- Building economic resilience
The Minister of Economic Opportunities and Finance, David Maynier, said: "work done by our Red Tape Reduction Unit is an excellent example of how we are working hard to improve the ease of doing business and create an enabling environment for businesses to grow and create jobs in the Western Cape. Since its launch in 2011, our Red Tape Reduction Unit has helped thousands of businesses tackle the obsolete or unnecessary bureaucracy that restricts their growth. In this financial year alone, they have dealt with over 1 270 cases and have maintained an overall resolution rate of 80%."
Minister Maynier added: "Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked hard to help businesses in the Western Cape to open safely, and most recently the Department of Economic Development and Tourism have secured the services of an occupational health & safety (OHS) agency to assist businesses at no cost.”
“Through our engagements with businesses, we have heard how many are struggling to implement the necessary workplace safety protocols and so the OHS support was available to assist businesses to ensure compliance. This includes assistance such as completing COVID-19 risk assessments, developing risk mitigation plans and implementing relevant sector-specific COVID-19 health and safety measures."
These efforts are further being supported by the Department of Agriculture, which has helped the agricultural sector to create 22 000 jobs in 2019. In the same year, the food, beverages and tobacco sector added 12 000, a combined total of 34 000 jobs.
Human Capital Development Programmes, including internships, bursary programmes, scholarship programmes, and Young Professional Persons programmes, are being implemented through the Department to enhance the sector's skills development. This includes 35 bursaries, 5 scholarships, 175 internships, and 6 people in the Young Professional Persons Programme. We are determined to increase training opportunities for youth, women and the disabled to secure the sustainability of the agricultural sector.
The Department’s Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute offers formal training programmes at the Higher Education and Training level, consisting of a Bachelor of Agriculture degree and a 3-year Diploma in Agriculture. The Training Institute also provides Learnership programmes and short skills courses.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, said: “One hundred and sixty-seven students graduated from these programmes at the end of the 2020 academic year. To date, 1 799 agricultural beneficiaries have benefitted from skills training. This year training includes the B. Agric degree, 3-year Diploma in Agriculture, a Certificate in Horse Mastership, a learnership programme to at least 550 students and skills courses to 1 500 participants. These interventions are all aimed at preparing our youth for careers in the Agricultural sector.”
Speaking to workplace opportunities specifically created for young people, the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sports, Anroux Marais, said, “As the Western Cape Government is committed to creating pathways to work or studies for our youth, our YearBeyond (YeBo) programme led by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport empowers young people with skills and competencies that prepare them for the world of work and studies through work experience, personal development and mentorship.”
“For this to optimally succeed, the whole of society needs to join the movement to address youth unemployment. As such, the Western Cape Government works in partnership with other innovative stakeholders who are equipped to deliver the programme and have a track record of delivering social impact. The Year Beyond is an example of such a programme.”
“The YeBo Programme provides almost 500 volunteers per annum with experience and training, and in the 2020/21 year, 6 000 learners with academic support in literacy and numeracy and life skills. Despite the pandemic, the YeBo programme has expanded to include a data admin stream, Scouting in schools, @home learning and 10000 Stories Activators. In 2021/22 we hope to reach 1 000 youth and 10 000 learners to strengthen the capacity of the youth office to provide holistic support to youth on the programme, as well as pathway support to those exiting.”
Speaking further to opportunities provided by the Western Cape Government, the Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, said: “The Western Cape government creates the conditions necessary for the private sector to create jobs. And key to the conditions for this to happen is safety and security. Our focus is to promote safety.”
“Directly, I should make mention of our Youth Safety Ambassador Programme. During the launch-month of April, we continue to sign contracts and induct young people between the ages of 18 and 35 for work opportunities throughout the province. These young people are placed in community institutions such as schools, NGOs, municipalities and more throughout in gang and crime hotspots in the Metro; and in various towns across the province, including Murraysburg, Beaufort West, Klaarstroom, Laingsberg, Mossel Bay, Citrusdal and more. At present, just under 600 young people have signed contracts and have been inducted. Over the coming weeks we will reach our target of having 1000 of these young people signed and placed for a period of 12 months.”
“I am also proud of our Youth Work Programme, a long-running programme run by the Department of Community Safety. After young people have gone through the three-month in-house Chrysalis Programme, they are placed at a partner institution to work for a period of 12 months. On average, this programme employs just under 1000 young people per annum.”