Paid internship for 1 million SA youth

Sep 16 2016 18:00
Lameez Omarjee

Pretoria – A new youth employment programme developed by government, labour and the private sector will see 1 million youth placed in paid internships, over a three-year period, said President Jacob Zuma.

Speaking at a press briefing at the Union Buildings on Friday, the president gave feedback on the progress made by the Presidential CEO Initiative, along with government and labour. This followed a meeting attended by CEOs of major companies, representatives of the Black Business Council (BBC), Business Unity South Africa, labour federations Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu),  Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) and National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu).

READ: Zuma: Damaging talk hurts efforts to stave off junk status

The initiative focused on four work streams. These include an investment work stream, small enterprise development work stream, youth employment and finally addressing issues related to a sovereign credit downgrade.

Among the progress made, a youth employment programme. “The cost will be borne by the private sector and supported by a negotiated packages of government initiatives,” said Zuma.

So far, an SME Fund has been established to make equity investments in small enterprises. The private sector has contributed R1.5bn to it. “This is a formidable achievement,” said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan who also attended the briefing.

Government is working to find new areas for investment and growth he added. Business and government will partner to establish an agricultural growth fund, support for South African tourism marketing work, increase the number of nurses trained and  to “revitalise declining industrial areas” in the Vaal Triangle.

Government, private sector and labour are still working together to avoid a downgrade, and will be meeting with ratings agencies in the coming weeks. The president said he was encouraged by the work done to avoid a downgrade in June.

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