About 6 600 unemployed youth will get the big break they need to join the workforce after premier Phumulo Masualle’s Bhisho executive council instructed all provincial government departments to use 1% of their skills funds to finance new internship programmes. The latest Statistics SA Social Profile of Youth report, published in May, showed that youth unemployment – those aged 15 to 34 – remained stubbornly high at 39.5%. Five years ago, that figure stood at 34.2%.
Provincial government spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said in a drive to improve the situation, the exco had given a directive to all provincial government departments to recruit 6 600 unemployed graduates for internships based on their respective fields of study.
“A decision was taken that each department must spend 1% of the skills levy budget,” Kupelo said.
Figures show that only 897 graduates are on internship programmes at various government departments across the province.
“However, this number is far below the target set to hire 6 000-plus,” Kupelo said.
Most of the interns employed are based at the departments of health, social development and safety.
Kupelo said it was critical that all departments played their part in helping upskill unemployed youth.
“OTP [the office of the premier] will write to all heads of departments to comply with the 1% skills levy spend and those who may have already hired less than expected (From the beginning of this financial year on April 1], will be advised to close the gap,” he said.