New initiative to help Bay youth source jobs

Harambee, BMF join forces to fight unemployment

Stakeholders attend a youth empowerment seminar at the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator Centre in Greenacres
Stakeholders attend a youth empowerment seminar at the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator Centre in Greenacres
Image: Brian Witbooi

With the aim of empowering black youngsters in Nelson Mandela Bay, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator launched a programme together with the Black Management Forum (BMF) last week to bridge the gap for people entering the working world and helping them become employable.

Harambee aims to ensure that by 2022 more than 200 000 youths have secured their first job.

Harambee’s provincial head, Masakhane MlaMla, said it wanted to tackle youth unemployment in the Bay in the best way it could.

“We are looking at holding a series of conversations which will add to a provincial conversation, which would ultimately influence some of the much-needed decisions from a private sector perspective.

“Unemployment is a national issue and in a city like Port Elizabeth where we have half of the youth facing this reality, it is important to think about how to develop the right relationships with the right stakeholders and build solutions together to solve the socioeconomic problems young people face.

“Our partnership with BMF is looking at how to bring the right voices into these conversations to benefit the youth.”

He said Harambee would introduce a series of conversations for youths in the Bay to ensure more people stepped out of unemployment and helped grow the economy.

“If we have more than half of our youth without a job and there is no concrete plan in place to change this, that is concerning.

“And that is where Harambee comes in to start these conversations.”

With about 73% unemployed people living off social grants, Harambee aims to be a workseeker support system that bridges the gap into employment and builds platforms for the young.

“During volatile and difficult times the BMF, as a highly motivated organisation, has maintained a balanced support structure to assist our members through their challenging times.”

The BMF has facilitated many developmental programmes locally and internationally for black managers, thus contributing to the development of managerial competence.

BMF chairwoman Glenda Perumal said the partnership with Harambee was mainly to empower the youth.

“We want to let our youth know they are not on their own when seeking employment. We have identified Harambee to assist and introduce them to our members, who include company directors, HR directors and business owners.

“We have people in our organisation who are decision-makers, which can open doors for our youth. This programme is the first of many.”

Perumal said BMF hoped to include more stakeholders in the upcoming programmes to provide further access to businesses.

“We are going to challenge them to see what they can bring to the table because we have made a commitment to the youth.”