UKZN Partners with Government in Job Training and Creation Project
UKZN and the South African Government are involved in a project which will train unemployed people and give them jobs in the fibre optics, food handling and mixed farming sectors.
The project was launched by the National Minister of Employment and Labour, Mr Thulas Nxesi at UKZN’s Innovation Centre.
The partnership agreement is between the Fuze Institute for Humanitarian Praxis within the College of Humanities and the Department of Employment and Labour’s Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).
The UIF, through its Labour Activation Programmes (LAP), has set aside 551 million Rands for three training and job creation projects involving nearly 20 000 people - 70% of whom are former UIF contributors who lost their jobs. Of the total number, 14 771 will undergo training in Food Handling, 5 000 in Mixed Farming and 150 in Fibre Optic Technology.
Fuze Institute CEO Ms Thandi Ngcobo said: ‘The 14 771 being trained in food handling will be employed by the Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal after completing their training, while the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal has pledged to support the 5 000 in mixed farming by purchasing their produce. Intermediate Data Systems has committed to employing the 150 beneficiaries as Fibre Optic Technicians.’
Trainees receive monthly stipends.
Nxesi said there was no dignity in unemployment. ‘In spite of the pandemic and the prevailing inclement economic conditions, we as government believe we must continue to pull out all stops to ensure that people are either employed or at least have the opportunity to put into practice their innovative ideas and display their entrepreneurial spirit,’ he said
‘In light of our Department’s employment mandate, we urge the private sector and all potential stakeholders to partner with us to reduce and end unemployment in the country because partnerships are key to creating jobs. Therefore, all UIF training projects must be linked to employment creation because we do not want learners to be idle at home after completing their training,’ said Nxesi.
Director-General of Employment and Labour Mr Thobile Lamati said the Department was committed to playing its role in creating jobs. ‘We are worried about growing unemployment in the country. We pledge to play our role in projects such as this which include job creation, especially for young people. ‘To our trainees, I urge you not to waste this opportunity because it comes along only once in a while,’ said Lamati.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize said the pandemic had caused an increase in the number of unemployed young people. ‘This employment creation project is very welcome. Young people are being afforded an opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills. We will support the project.’
A beneficiary of UIF training Mr Bayanda Zaca was previously a construction worker. ‘Today, I am head chef at a top restaurant in Durban after undergoing the training. I also help new trainees at the food-processing centre in Ndwedwe. I am truly grateful to the UIF for turning my life around,’ said Zaca.
Ms Lethabo Tsonope, who was also funded by the UIF, is a commercial pilot for FlySafair, flying a Boeing 783-800. ‘I never thought I would become a pilot because training is so expensive. I am grateful to be where I am today and urge young girls to put God first to succeed.’
Words: Melissa Mungroo
Photograph: UIF Twitter