Zille launches skills forum

Cape Town - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille announced the launch of a provincial skills development forum on Monday, but warned that economic and employment growth in the region faced "numerous" challenges.

These included that the working population was growing faster than the number of jobs being created, and a mismatch between the supply of and demand for skills.

Zille said that the Provincial Skills Development Forum (PSDF) was a "comprehensive plan" to address future skills demand in the Western Cape.

It was aligned with the strategic objective of putting economic and employment growth at the front and centre of the province's agenda.

However, while the region was relatively better off than others when it came to critical assets, including internet and computers, and excellent school and tertiary institutions, "we are faced with numerous challenges when it comes to job creation and skills development".

Youth unemployment

Zille said skills development initiatives were not aligned to the economy, and youth unemployment was high.

"Youth unemployment is high... an estimated 75% of job losses during the recession were suffered by people under the age of 35.

"The working population is increasing faster than the number of jobs being created, and there is a mismatch between the supply and demands of skills (quality vs quantity)."

She said employment was becoming increasingly skills-intensive across most sectors.

The primary aim of the PSDF would be to co-ordinate skills development in the Western Cape "so as to ensure that skills development interventions translate into real opportunities for our citizens".

A key focus would be "coming up with solutions aimed specifically at addressing youth unemployment", Zille said.

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