Youth employment has grown strongly since the adoption of the Youth Employment Accord, President Jacob Zuma told delegates at the inaugural Presidential Indaba on Youth Jobs and Skills on Sunday.
"In fact, the indaba heard on Friday that 420 000 new jobs have been created … " he said in a speech prepared for delivery.
"Mainly in construction linked to our National Infrastructure Plan, the trade sector, government programmes, business services, transport and communication."
Gauteng accounted for about half of the new youth jobs, with 210 000 new jobs created.
Zuma said the province had also spent about R120-million in youth enterprises.
"The Youth Employment Accord has also promoted the creation of internship opportunities for the youth in national departments, municipalities and state-owned enterprises," said Zuma.
Importance of investing in youth
Zuma took the time to speak about the role youth played during the struggle and the importance of investing in the youth.
Another investment initiative in the youth would be the launch of a new Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund, run by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
"This is a R10-million fund designed to provide financial support to youth primarily in rural areas."
"The NYDA also continues to run the successful National Senior Certificate Second Chance Matric Rewrite Programme to afford young people who have failed matric, a second chance to obtain their National Senior Certificate," he said.
Zuma said government was investing in education and skills development because they are the most powerful weapons that the youth will need to enable them to run the country's modern economy efficiently.
Investment in education was designed to prepare the youth for the second phase of freedom, that of meaningful economic emancipation.
'Stainable jobs for youth'
The NYDA commended Zuma for highlighting the importance of youth development, education, skills development and entrepreneurship.
NYDA chairperson Yershen Pillay said they would take forward Zuma's instruction to turn the new NYDA Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship into a multibillion-rand state scholarship fund.
"The president has clearly indicated that the Youth Employment Accord is the best and most viable blueprint for the creation of sustainable jobs for youth."
"We must then discuss how best to implement the Youth Employment Accord," said Pillay. – Sapa