“As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same” – Nelson Mandela.
In shinning the light as a collective and honoring Mandela month, CDC young professionals engaged in a youth dialogue addressing the issue of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
Stimulating the economy through youth involvement is difficult to achieve against the highlighted social ills. During the first quarter of 2019, the youth unemployment rate in South Africa was seating at 55.2% while 31% of that was the rate of unemployed graduates.
However, organizations like the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) are amongst some of the key role players that continue to contribute towards: (1) economic participation and transformation, (2) skills development through programmes aimed at equipping young people with skills and experience.
“I look at this room and I see a think tank for the youth in the Eastern Cape region” Bekani Madyibi, CDC Programme Manager addressed the team during the second edition of the youth dialogue hosted at the CDC head office. This campaign is a continuation of the efforts by CDC young professionals to decode access to opportunities.
“If we don’t use these kind of platforms to come up with solutions, we are depriving ourselves of opportunities to grow and develop as young people, because we define the future,” Bekani continued.
Following the panel discussion, the panelists stated that internship programmes
should not merely provide jobs for the sake of providing jobs, but should upskill people socially and professionally. Tackling youth unemployment will require input from multiple sponsors. Measures, programmes and initiatives that pursue job creation will need to be effectively structured to ensure meaningful outcomes. This was a key message delivered during the engagement.
Amongst the panellists was, CDC Business Development intern, Asive Ralarala (26) who currently holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning; who highlighted the importance of empowering the youth with financial knowledge which would ultimately secure global appeal to improve the economy. “We could only be able to open ourselves to free trade opportunities once we fully understand the essential need to learn about financial planning to improve our saving and investment plans,” she said.
Citing concerns regarding inequality, CDC ICT, Research and Strategy intern, Siyasanga Nqeketo (25), and CDC Web Development intern, Rene Marais (26) shared a similar view pertaining to the representation of young women in influential positons, “in as much as inequality is a broad topic on its own, however gender inequality seems to exist everywhere. Women of colour in particular, are not represented as much, and this becomes a major concern when drafting solutions to issues facing the youth”, Siyasanga emphasised. Siyasanga Nqeketo currently holds a Bcomm: Economics qualification and Rene Marias is a qualified software engineer, who also holds a National Diploma IT support.
Meanwhile, CDC SHEQ intern, Aphiwe Matwebu (25) who also joined the roundtable discussion and has recently obtained a ND: Environmental Health qualification, argued that South Africa remains under developed yet rich in resources, “Looking at vision 2020, this discussion should rather focus on national building efforts and using the resources we have to bridge the gap,” he said.
“We need to take ownership in upskilling ourselves and design our own work opportunities as a long-term approach,” he concluded.
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