Over 9 000 SA youths to be trained as social workers

More than 9 000 unemployed youths will be trained as auxiliary social workers by 2010, the Department of Social Development said on Monday.

Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya said the implementation of the training programme is part of an agreement of cooperation with Cuba’s Minister of Labour and Social Security, Alfredo Morales Cartaya.

“The youth will be trained and on completion be deployed in their communities to help us deal with the various social challenges such as assisting orphans and vulnerable children, alleviating the HIV and Aids [pandemic], vulnerable youth support and others,” he said.

Cuba has developed a two-pronged work-training programme comprising a formal university-level programme and a rapid 12-month social work-training programme.

As part of the implementation of the agreement, the Cuban programme will be replicated in South Africa to alleviate the shortage of social workers and create much-needed jobs as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme.

“A rapid auxiliary social-worker training programme will surely help us deal with the critical shortages of social workers,” said Skweyiya.

He said the department will “train and absorb” 9360 auxiliary social workers by 2010.

Skweyiya was in Cuba to strengthen ties and formalise cooperation on social security, services to women, youth and children, community development, poverty alleviation and training of social service professionals.

Departmental spokesperson Lakela Kaunda said youth from rural and poor communities will be favoured in the national recruitment programme.

The cooperation with Cuba will also include study tours and exchanges of technical expertise on policy development.—Sapa

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