In an important step towards achieving her commitment to creating 250 000 new opportunities for young people over the next five years, Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer launched the first ever Youth on the Move: Gateway to Opportunities event in George.
The event was held over two days in George, where Minister Schäfer met with potential employers, and groups working with young people on Monday.
Today, Minister Schäfer met with over 200 unemployed, young people from the region.
The young people were involved in various working groups where they answered questions about their barriers to accessing opportunities, how they use technology to advance skills and opportunities, and how they go about finding work and opportunities.
The Youth on the Move project is designed to be rolled out at a municipal level and will connect young people looking for opportunities, with employers and organisations who are creating jobs and opportunities for young people. The event was created in conjunction with the Garden Route and George Municipalities, and the Garden Route Skills Mecca.
The Garden Route has a growing youth population, and in George, the number of people between the ages of 18 and 35, grew by a percentage point between 2011 and 2016. George is also the fastest growing city in the province.
Speaking at the youth event, Minister Schäfer said: “Too many young people in South Africa do not have access to opportunities. Our job as government is to open the gateway between employers and young people looking for a job. You need to walk through that gateway and get that first job. Once you've got that first job, you've got the experience to put on your CV, which allows you to show that you've got skills,” she said.
Minister of Social Development, Albert Fritz, who also attended the event said: “Our youth needs work. We need to get our young people into jobs. People always accuse the youth of being bad. Our youth aren't bad. Our youth are phenomenal, we just need to give them a chance and give them an opportunity.”
Minister Schäfer said: “Over the past two days we've heard from employers that they're not finding the right people with the right skills and we've heard from young people that transport, safety and the cost of printing out a CV, are some of the barriers that they're experiencing.”
“By growing digital skills in our province, and encouraging young people to use technology like job search websites, apps and to make use of services like youth cafes and the ICAN Learn programmes, we can start to make headway in addressing the concerns expressed by both employers and the youth,” Minister Schäfer said.