Youth Month 2012: Making Youth Development Possible
South Africa commemorates Youth Day on June 16 every year to mark the tragic events of June 1976, where a number of young people lost their lives in the struggle against apartheid.
The theme for this year's commemoration is: "Together we can do more to build infrastructure and fight youth unemployment, poverty and inequality".
The Western Cape Government, through the Premier's Advancement of Youth (PAY) project, recognises the need to fight youth unemployment. About 70% of South Africa's youth are currently unemployed.
The PAY project was set up to give Western Cape youth an opportunity to get into the labour market at an early age. The project provides learners who finished matric in 2011 with the opportunity of a one-year internship to learn what the workplace is all about and to contribute to their growth and development, not only as prospective employees, but as citizens of South Africa.
Who Qualifies for the Internship?
- Learners who do not intend studying further and are unemployed.
- Learners who have passed the National Senior Certificate (NSC) 2011 in the Western Cape.
- Learners who are South African citizens.
- Learners who have no network or support to help them make career choices.
For the 2012 period, approximately 760 candidates were selected and assumed duty within various Western Cape Government departments. In order to equip the interns with the necessary work skills, they are exposed to the following:
- The development of an understanding of the scope of work of the department. For example, the Department of Agriculture has divided their intake of interns into four groups that rotate across the various directorates. The Department of Education has outlined the various roles that the intern can play within the school, which varies from financial, administration, library, IT, teacher assistant and extra mural activities.
- Opportunities to explore their career interests through job shadowing.
- Basic administration skills that can be applied to any form of work and study. For this, the interns require computer literacy, organisation skills, and skills such as filing, photocopying and scanning, and working with and making sense of information, documents and communication.
In addition, interns are assigned mentors who assist them with personal development. The key success indicator is that the intern is more prepared for formal employment with marketable skills. The purpose of the internship is not only to gain work experience, but to provide the intern with the skills and ability to get a foothold in formal employment.
Other Areas of Development
Financial and other forms of assistance are provided for interns to obtain learner's and driver's licences.
Various events will be held around the province to celebrate Youth Day. The City of Cape Town will host the Youth in Action Expo, which will take place at the Zip Zap Circus School in the Arts Cape Gardens on Friday, 15 June and Saturday, 16 June, 2012.
The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) will spread youth empowerment messages countrywide during June. The NYDA launched a Youth Train that will travel across the nine provinces to reach out and engage youth in rural areas. The celebrations will conclude with the South African Youth Awards ceremony on Friday, 29 June 2012. You can nominate people who are role models of youth excellence for the awards.
You can locate your nearest NYDA youth advisory centre in the Western Cape.