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As South Africa commemorates Youth Month, the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) is contributing to the socio-economic upliftment of poor communities. The Programme remains steadfast in creating economic opportunities for poor and unemployed people including drawing a significant number of young people into the Programme through the provision of work and training opportunities.
The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) recently announced that the EPWP has created 1 016 646 work opportunities in 2021/22 financial year, of which 415 897 were work opportunities for the youth i.e. 18 - 35 years old. This number constitutes 40.91 percent of the overall total of 1 016 646 work opportunities that were created across all four sectors of the EPWP, namely: Infrastructure, Social, Environment & Culture and Non State Sectors.
Work and training opportunities for young people were created through a range of EPWP interventions such as the National Youth Service (NYS) Programme and the EPWP Artisan Development Programme.
Currently, a total of 367 young people across the country are participating in the EPWP Artisan Development Programme which is funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training through its National Skills Fund. The DPWI contracted Agricultural Sector Education and Training Authority to implement this training.
The NYS is a sub-programme of the EPWP Infrastructure Sector and has created 9,195 work opportunities for young people during the 2021/22 financial year. NYS learners acquire theoretical learning and are placed at various construction sites throughout the country for experiential training in various artisan trades. The NYS initiative is focused on providing young people (EPWP learners) with skills programme training such as plumbing, painting, paving, welding, and general civil work. The programme also enhances an understanding and aspirations of working in the built environment. The NYS Programme is implemented through partnerships that include: the DPWI, Provincial Departments of Public Works, National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) and various private sector companies in the Built Environment Industry.
The Deputy Director General (DDG) of the EPWP Branch in DPWI, Ms. Carmen-Joy Abrahams, in her youth month message, called on municipalities and departments to further expand EPWP sub-programmes that are attractive for the youth, given the high unemployment rate faced by the most vulnerable groups of the society, especially the youth. She indicated that there is a need to apply innovation and strengthen dialogues with the aim of sharing best practice on youth programmes.”
This year’s Youth Day and Month is celebrated under the theme “Promoting sustainable livelihood and resilience of young people for a better tomorrow”.
Ms. Mapule Mocwaledi is one of the young people who is currently participating and benefiting from the EPWP. She is part of the 367 young people who are being trained as artisans through the Artisan Development Programme. Ms Mocwaledi is also one of the 10 learners currently placed at the TVA Training Centre in Middleburg where she is being trained in Diesel Mechanic at SG Coal. She has commended the Artisan Development programme for giving her skills that she can use to provide for herself and her siblings. “Life has been hard for us at home since the passing of our parents. The EPWP has been my lifeline as I am able to use the wages I am receiving from the Programme to put food on the table at home. The Diesel Mechanic skills I am acquiring from this training have given me an opportunity to also open a small business for myself…I am able to earn an additional income by fixing people’s cars in my community,” Mocwaledi said.
Another participant, Ms. Persia Maphake who is placed at an Artisan Development College in Johannesburg is training as a Lift Mechanic Apprentice. She said that the Artisan Development Programme has not only given her the ability to learn and earn an income but has also given her confidence as a young woman studying one of the rare trades. “It is a wonderful feeling to wake up every morning and come to the centre to learn. I feel part of a society…the EPWP has given me confidence,” she added.
Issued by Department of Public Works and Infrastructure