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Welfare to wealth

Apr 29 2018 06:00
Phetoho Maja

In Gauteng, more than 1 million people receive child support grants. A large proportion of those are young women, many of whom are from households where tertiary education is not considered a priority due to poverty levels.

The skills level among young mothers is very low and relevant work experience is needed.

In response to these overwhelming social challenges, the Gauteng Provincial Government Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza launched the Welfare-to-Work Programme (W2WP) in 2014 to address economic challenges facing young women in the province.

The W2WP aims to either transit youth who are on welfare into decent employment, or provide further education opportunities.

Since then, the programme has restored the dignity of thousands of young women who were dependent on child support grants as their only source of income, and has reduced the dependency on the welfare system.

The Gauteng department of social development has committed to expand the programme to reach more than 12 000 beneficiaries by 2019.

The department provides accredited skills training programmes through partnerships with nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and accredited training partners in the fields of hospitality, property, photography, beauty therapy and hair dressing.

Mayathula-Khoza encouraged the youth, especially social grant recipients‚ victims of gender-based violence and those exiting substance abuse treatment centres to look beyond welfare.

She was speaking at last week’s Welfare-to-Work graduation, where 316 beneficiaries graduated with accredited industry certificates.

Celebrated under the theme Breaking the Welfare Cycle, the graduation was held in partnership with Godisang Youth Development, the Beauty Hub Academy and other external training providers.

Addressing the graduates, Mayathula-Khoza expressed her gratitude to all the beneficiaries and partners for a job well done.

“We are grateful for the role played by all external training providers. Not only did our beneficiaries successfully complete their skills development training, but you laid a solid basis for many others to follow in a well-structured programme,” said the MEC.

“Under the leadership of Premier David Makhura, the Gauteng provincial government endeavours to create sustainable and decent employment through a growing and inclusive economy.

“The Welfare-to-Work Programme is one of the key efforts in reducing the number of people on grants. This programme aims to move people, especially young women, out of the welfare system and into employment,” she said.

PROUD MOMENT: Gauteng Department of Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza with HOD Thembisile Mhlongo and graduates at last week’s Welfare-to-Work Programme graduation ceremony. PHOTO: gdsd / Eric Malema

The W2WP aims to either transit youth who are on welfare into permanent lucrative employment or provide further education opportunities.

Since its launch in 2014, more than 20 000 welfare recipients have been assisted to access the working environment provided by a host of NGOs.

The W2WP is part of the Gauteng provincial government’s Tshepo 1-Million Programme, which involves taking welfare recipients to the work environment provided by host NGOs.

The programme includes recruitment and selection, assessment, placement and on-job development, case management, training and developmental education, support services and job retention services.

It helps participants to be ready for the job market and provides them with work experience to find and keep a job.

Initially, the W2WP was developed to support young women who are recipients of child support grants, but expanded to assist exiting foster care beneficiaries, victims of gender-based violence, recovering substance abuse service users, woman exiting Victim Empowerment Programme shelters, beneficiaries exiting the child justice system, and all other beneficiaries to transit from welfare into self-sustenance.

The programme incubates individuals for a period of not more than three years. Based on their assessment and educational profile, individuals are linked to an education and training programme that is aimed at ensuring they can move themselves out of the social security system.

Beneficiaries are selected based on socioeconomic factors that include:

• Aged between 18 and 24;

• From poor backgrounds;

• Have passed matric; and

• Participants who are willing and are ready to work.

All these criteria must be met for a participant’s selection for the boot camp. Prior to placement, participants attend a five-day boot camp before signing placement contracts. They must demonstrate commitment towards leaving behind welfare benefits for work or further study opportunities.

Social welfare beneficiaries who would like to join the programme should contact the Gauteng department of social development on 011 355 7600, or visit www.tshepo.mobi for employment opportunities.

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employment  |  social welfare  |  sa economy  |  youth
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