WHILE the country is grappling with major issues, both nationally and globally, the youth face a plethora of challenges. Dr Moses Khanyile, Masharps College, Kranskop organised a Youth Development workshop and comments as follows: "At national level, the government is busy with a number of issues including, inter alia, avoiding the relegation of South Africa’s credit rating to junk status, getting ready for the 3 August elections, making efforts to reduce unemployment by creating more jobs, stimulating the economy and reducing inflation to within three to six percent range. “At global level, there is uncertainty about the effects of Britain exiting the European Union (EU) - or Brexit - and stemming the tide of immigrants who are landing every day on the shores of some European countries, most notably Turkey, Germany and Britain. “With all these challenges demanding immediate attention of government, it is unfathomable that the youth will receive undivided attention. However, with June being the Youth Month in South Africa, it was inevitable that there would be youth-related activities across the country which sometimes evaporate immediately after June. Given that it is election year, youth matters are bound to feature prominently." The Youth Development workshop on 20 June, was attended by the youth from different parts of Umvoti Municipality. A solution-driven approach was adopted, which helped ensure that little time was spent lamenting and bemoaning deficiencies in the system, but focussed mainly on developing solutions. Recognising that they are a majority in the country (52%), the youth realised the enormous responsibility that they shoulder for ensuring they change their communities for the better. High in their priorities is creating safe communities by eradicating unplanned teenage pregnancies and substance abuse such as drugs, nyaope, dagga and excessive alcohol abuse. There was general consensus that, without skills, youth will not able to achieve many of their aspirations. To this effect, it is crucial that they acquire basic and critical skills which are required in the labour market. Mr Smart Khoza, the guest speaker, emphasised the importance of computer skills qualifications as provided by Masharps College. He cited countries like Singapore, India and China, that have prioritised Information Technology as the primary driver of economic development and increased employment opportunities. Mr FS Masikane, Masharps College headmaster, advised the youth to make use of the free services provided by Masharps College. The youth, regardless of whether they are studying at the college, are provided an opportunity to put their names on the college’s database so that they can be contacted for employment opportunities and bursaries. He indicated that the college helps students apply for bursaries, which are provided by companies and government departments.