Ramaphosa vows to tackle youth unemployment in June 16 address

16 June 2019 - 15:10 By Zimasa Matiwane
President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to tackle youth unemployment.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to tackle youth unemployment.
Image: TimesLIVE

Government has vowed to prioritise science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics at schools to equip the youth with skills to meet technological advances.

"Our young people need the necessary tools that they can use to navigate the changes these bring to the workplace and seize the opportunities that they present," President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

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Ramaphosa was addressing scores of young people at a Youth Day event in Polokwane, Limpopo, on Sunday.

He said coding and data analytics were being introduced as school subjects as per commitments made at last year's Presidential Jobs Summit.

"We agreed on a number of initiatives to accelerate the skilling of our young people to take advantage of jobs in the tech sector, as well as in installation, maintenance and repair jobs," Ramaphosa said.

The president also promised that government would introduce more technical high schools so that young people who wanted to follow a technical route to acquire skills that were needed in the economy had the opportunity to do so from a very young age. This comes amid growing calls for government to address the high rate of unemployment.

Ramaphosa acknowledged that youth unemployment remained a national crisis, with over half of South Africans aged 15 to 24 unemployed. However, he called on the private sector to get involved.

"If we are to urgently address this, we need the active participation of the private sector to create pathways into work for young people who are prepared to learn, work hard and better themselves," he said.

Ramaphosa also urged the youth not to lose hope as the government was also on a mission to support young people entering the labour market "by growing new and future jobs, and by giving them the opportunities to serve their communities and contribute to the growth of our economy".

"Working with our social partners, organised labour, business and civil society, government is building on agreements such as the Youth Accord and the Jobs Summit, we have it within our means to solve the challenge of youth unemployment in a sustainable manner," he added.

He called on all social partners to work together to " decisively tackle the youth unemployment national crisis".