R1.6bn training scheme ‘a waste of time'

2014-02-16 08:34
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Johannesburg - A R1.6bn job training scheme under the auspices of the Department of Rural Development has left thousands of young people frustrated and unemployable after many spent four years doing nothing.

According to the Sunday Times, 14 500 young people, who were part of the department’s National Rural Youth Service Corps, were meant to receive training in fields such as construction and agriculture in order to help them find jobs. They were meant to have studied at further education and training (FET) colleges, followed by work experience and then basic “character-building” at a military base.

However, few got this far. Instead many stayed in bed and breakfast lodgings for nearly a year and did nothing because the department had failed to supply the necessary tools for practical exercises.

This week students took to social networks to vent their frustrations – many of whom accuse the department of having wasted four years of their lives as they remain unemployable.

Good intentions

The programme was aimed at creating work opportunities for at least 10 000 youths from poor rural areas.

President Jacob Zuma launched the programme in 2011 in Dysselsdorp in the Western Cape.

He said the programme was launched in Dysselsdorp, near Oudtshoorn, because of the municipality's high rate of unemployment and the government's commitment to drawing the rural youth into the economic mainstream through skills training.

"This occasion bears testimony to the fact that government is steadfast on its drive to eradicate poverty, fight crime and other social ills affecting youth in rural areas," Zuma said at the time.

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