Buti Manamela

Buti Manamela


YOUTH Employment Service (YES) is a national initiative that seeks to create opportunities for young people. By partnering with the private sector, state-owned companies and other socio-economic partners, YES will ensure that the training in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges is suited to the requirements of the companies that seek these skills, and that TVET graduates will find positions in these companies.

As President Cyril Ramaphosa affirmed during the launch of YES, the government and private sector are investing more effort and resources into TVET colleges, which have the potential to produce the technical skills that will underpin the industrialisation of our economy.

By providing paid work experience to thousands of these unemployed young people, these companies will not only significantly improve their prospects of finding future employment, but will also help to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

One of the country's state-owned companies that is acutely aware of this national imperative is the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL).

This agency continues to support the next generation of engineers and artisans at tertiary institutions across the country and also awards scholarships to high school learners. SANRAL's ongoing partnerships with various institutions of higher education and training promotes interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

Through its sponsorship of Chairs in Pavement Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch and Transport Planning at the University of Cape Town, for example, SANRAL contributes greatly to knowledge generation and the training of young people in these sectors.

The agency's continued support of programmes like the University of the Free State's Family Math & Family Science initiative continues to expand into communities outside of the Free State. A total of 176 primary schools from predominantly rural communities in the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng were actively involved in this initiative during the last financial year.

Moreover, a total of 133 students, including 32 young women, were
awarded bursaries and 194 learners were recipients of SANRAL scholarships.

SANRAL's Technical Excellence Academy (TEA) in Port Elizabeth also made it possible for 27 candidate engineers, 10 of whom are women, to undergo training in 2016/17. The academy provides dedicated training and work exposure to civil engineering graduates, the majority of whom have been beneficiaries of SANRAL bursaries.

In line with YES, the provision of basic skills training, as well as job opportunities, has been one of the apex priorities of the Department of Higher Education and Training since its establishment.

Taking its cue from the national government, the department committed itself to ‘Outcome 5: a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path', as part of its efforts to implement the government's programme of action.

Outcome 5 stipulates that graduates of South African universities and TVET colleges should have the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the present and future needs of the country's economy.

We are fortunate to have SOEs such as SANRAL, who wholeheartedly say "Yes!" to YES and continue to do their part to help alleviate youth unemployment in South Africa.