Making its youth more employable is the focus of the City’s youth directorate, which runs various useful skills training and community service programmes.
ZANELE Madotyeni, a 26-year-old from Alexandra, used to sit outside her house and, like a sunflower, follow the sun through the day with nothing better to do.
Jolidee MatondoJolidee Matondo, deputy director at the youth directorateBut thanks to the City of Johannesburg’s youth directorate, Madotyeni got involved in some community projects. She helped in a clean-up campaign along the banks of the Jukskei River; she took part in teaching others about health and hygiene; and she participated in a workshop on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
She helped pick up litter and plant trees along the river banks. Madotyeni is one of 750 people from Alexandra who have taken part in the youth directorate’s projects. The unit has various programmes for unemployed young people to learn new skills and, at the same time, contribute to their communities.
“The programme helped me and other unemployed youth in this area keep ourselves busy and stress less about unemployment,” says Madotyeni. “Being jobless can cause youth to start thinking of illegal ways of getting money or even [becoming] involved in drugs and alcohol abuse because of stress.”
The youth unit falls under the City’s community development department, which formulates policies to benefit the youth. For example, it looks for ways to teach young people skills that help in the marketplace; it provides education on drugs and alcohol as well as health issues; and it offers advice on where to go for on-going training or job opportunities.
According to Jolidee Matongo, the deputy director of the directorate, the City has run a number of programmes to keep youngsters busy and off the streets. Through educational workshops they are told of the dangers of substance abuse and a life of crime.
The programmes are aimed at helping unemployed youth to get basic life skills. Youngsters are involved with community service such as the river cleaning project, cleaning taxi ranks, helping out at police stations or painting schools in their communities, among other work. They get R60 a day.
“We [also] have a job preparedness programme where we teach youngsters how to write a winning curriculum vitae, interview strategies, the way to present themselves in an interview and basic computer literacy,” explains Matongo.
YouthAlex youth get down to do community workIn addition, it has a skills training plan aimed at young entrepreneurs who have registered their businesses but have struggled to take it further. It helps the emerging entrepreneurs polish their business plan writing skills and teaches them how to manage, run and grow their business.
In this field, the City works with organisations such as the National Youth Development Agency as well as private enterprises. On one of the department’s programmes, the City works with organisations that teach specific skills to the young participants for six months; thereafter that they are given internships in various City departments.
The directorate also runs Ke Moja, a health campaign. Ke Moja means “I am fine”. This is an awareness programme looking at the negative effects of drug and alcohol abuse. “We visit schools and raise awareness about these things. We even have our own rehabilitation centre in Randburg,” says Matongo.
Young people are helped to achieve their dreams through the directorate’s mentorship programme. “After they have been mentored we look for learnerships and internships within the City or other organisations to make sure that they reach their dreams and goals in life.”
Joburg’s youth policy, approved in 2009, emphasises the mainstreaming of youth development. This means that every City department must have a youth programme, with the youth directorate evaluating and monitoring these programmes.
For more information on taking part in the programmes, call 011 582 7006 / 7025.
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