Johannesburg - Creating jobs is essential to social stability, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said at the annual convention of the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday.
"Without being able to work, people cannot fulfil their potential as human beings," he said in a speech prepared for delivery.
Social grants kept people alive in times of need.
"But they are no substitute for employment, whether [it is] employment in an organisation or self-employment."
Jobs gave people the satisfaction of contributing to the wealth of society and passed on to their children a positive attitude to work.
Nzimande said there were around three million youth, between the ages of 18 and 24, who were neither employed, nor in education or training.
Those who did not have reasonable hope of finding jobs had little stake in maintaining a stable society.
"I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that the future stability and prosperity of our society depends on creating opportunities for these young people."
Although education alone could not create jobs and economic growth, growth in a modern economy could not take place without the relevant knowledge and skills, he said.
The department of higher education aimed to expand university access by 600 000 students and vastly increase enrolment at other tertiary institutions by 2030.
However, graduates would also need practical experience.
"So it is essential that employers in both the public and private sectors become involved in providing training spaces to young trainees, either as apprentices, learners or interns."
Aside from the benefits of honing their skills, this experience taught young people workplace discipline and team work.
Training was good for business and the economy, Nzimande said.
"We have a great opportunity to work together for the benefit of our country and for the betterment of our young people. Let's use it."