EYEP graduates handed over to host organisations
July 7, 2023
The first cohort of youth graduate trainees under Eswatini Youth Empowerment Programme (EYEP) was received by the various host organisations at a high-level event held at the University of Eswatini. The 56 graduates – 28 females and 28 males – were also honoured with certificates of completion following the conclusion of a three-day induction training programme to prepare them for the work environment.
The event was attended by cabinet ministers, leaders of private sector organisations, and heads of UN agencies, among other dignitaries.
Speaking on behalf of her peers, one of the trainees, Dr Zitsile Khumalo, who holds a PhD in Economics, said the induction training prepared them for the life ahead beyond EYEP.
“The skills we take from this programme have prepared us for our personal and professional lives beyond this programme,” she said, adding: “Through mentorships from the best (host) institutions in the country, our lives will change for the better as we establish solid professional relationships and create thriving careers.”
Speaking on behalf of the host organisations, Clerk to Parliament, Mr Benedict Xaba, said this opportunity will give the graduates an opportunity to understand the operations of the public service, particularly the Legislature. He said it would also give Parliament access to the cream of the crop when it comes to young talent and skills.
“You will be introduced to the role of parliament in various departments,” he said. “This shall be in the areas of improving parliament’s legislative and oversight roles and support to areas of parliamentary outreach programmes.’
UNDP Resident Representative, Ms Rose Ssebatindira, said one of the agency’s objectives is to put a face to the statistics of the unemployed youth, adding that each one of the graduates has a compelling story to tell.
“One that struck me the most is that of Dr. Khumalo – she holds a PhD in Economics but has failed to find a job, and yet the need for such skills is there, and there’re many more such stories,” she said.
She added that the inter-relatedness of the bottlenecks to youth employment and employability calls for cross-sectoral policies and programmes that address these issues.
She further expressed her appreciation to His Majesty King Mswati III for launching EYEP, and for entrusting UNDP with the opportunity to demonstrate that, with concerted action, the youth unemployment challenge can be resolved. She also thanked the government, particularly the Ministries of Economic Planning and Development; Labour and Social Security, Sports Culture and Youth Affairs and Education.
“Please join me in thanking the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development for the generous contribution of 17 Million Emalangeni to the Youth Programme – this is a significant indication of Government commitment to the programme,” said Ssebatindira.
She further expressed her gratitude to the private sector for its financial contribution to the programme.
“Allow me to make special mention of Coca Cola whose financial contributions will support 55 graduates for six months, similarly, the Public Service Pension Fund will support 33 graduates for the same period,” she said, adding: “We also have pipeline partnerships with MTN, DATUM GP, Swaziland Royal Insurance Corporation, and National Maize Corporation and call on more Private Sector to support the programme.”
Addressing the gathering, the Minister of Sports Culture and Youth Affairs, Hon. Harris Bulunga, urged the private sector to support the programme adding that more work needs to be done to address youth unemployment. He added that the Ministry is working closely with other Government Ministries in implementing EYEP with UNDP and urged parastatals to lead by example in hosting the graduates.
"This first cohort of graduate youth is part of a much bigger group of applicants to the programme - over 3000 and no doubt many more out there."
The placement of graduates will take place on a rolling basis, and shortlisted applicants will be announced on social and mainstream media.
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