Pretoria – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged unemployed young people who struggle to find work, never to give up and to keep trying to be better in their own lives.
Deputy President Ramaphosa, who chairs the Human Resource Development Council and coordinates an Inter-Ministerial Committee on short-term job creation, made the appeal during a visit to the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator in central Johannesburg on Monday.
The visit followed the Deputy President’s opening address at the “Accelerating Inclusive Youth Employment” conference in September 2014.
Harambee aims to increase the inclusion of young people into the formal economy. It identifies, prepares and transitions unemployed young people with demonstrated potential to pre-identified permanent jobs in the private sector.
Candidates are coached in a range of functional and life skills that make them ready for integration into workplaces and develops personal confidence and motivation.
In three years, Harambee has scaled up nationally to help nearly 100 000 young work seekers from poor households move closer to and into the labour market.
More than half of Harambee candidates come from households that subsist on social grants and only about 10 percent of candidates have an email account by the time they get to Harambee.
More than 10 000 of the candidates who have been part of Harambee’s programme have been employed in sectors that include retail, hospitality, financial services, insurance, business process outsourcing, professional business services, manufacturing, technical and industrial.
During his visit, Deputy President Ramaphosa commended Harambee as a “jobs revolution” with the potential to be a model for overcoming unemployment in the country.
“You are taking the best out of young people, polishing it and presenting it to the world; you are giving young people a platform through which they can utilise opportunity and fly. It gives meaning, content and substance to the journey of life,” he said.
Deputy President Ramaphosa was moved by the personal stories of Harambee candidates who declared how the programme had transformed them as persons and enhanced their employability.
He urged job seekers never to lose hope. “Every now and then, if you don’t get a job, don’t give up. Always seek to be better. Don’t give up, ever. Keep trying.”
Deputy President Ramaphosa undertook to investigate ways in which the Harambee model could be better supported or replicated.