As they seal deal to support youth
Youth Programme Excites Private Sector
April 13, 2023
Private sector institutions and local government authorities have confirmed their commitment to the Eswatini Youth Empowerment Programme (EYEP). This follows the signing of Memorandums of Understanding between UNDP and two companies – the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) and the Construction Industry Council of Eswatini (CIC). UNDP further signed MOUs with Ezulwini, Nhlangano and Mankayane municipalities.
The MoUs formalise a partnership between UNDP and the organisations on EYEP, which has two pillars – Graduate Placement and Artisanal Skills Training. The private sector institutions have committed to creating spaces for hosting the graduates and providing mentorship. They are also providing financial support towards the programme. The municipalities will provide technical and financial support to the Artisanal Skills Training, whose pilot recently started at Ezulwini.
Areas of potential cooperation include:
Providing placement of selected graduates into host institutions and supporting them with mentorship and coaching.
Promoting artisanal skills and mentorship to non-graduates and out-of-school youths.
Establishing a partnership on resource mobilisation towards setting up a basket fund.
At the signing ceremony, PSPF announced a contribution of E600 000 towards the programme presented by the CEO, Mr Masotja Vilakati. He said PSPF is excited about the Programme because, although PSPF’s members are public servants and those who have retired, the youth are their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He said PSPF has had several graduates trained in the organisation for at least a year for the past three years, after which they look for jobs.
“We have noted that it is helpful for their experience and career because when they apply, they can cite that they worked for PSPF for a year, and it gives them credibility,” said Vilakati.
Adding his voice, the Acting CEO of CIC, Mr Maqhawe Mnisi, confirmed the organisation’s partnership in supporting EYEP in ensuring that the graduates and unskilled youth get employment opportunities through placements with member organisations. He said CIC was already supporting the youth in this way.
“We’re looking forward to doing more,” he said.
UNDP Resident Representative Ms Rose Ssebatindira appreciated the organisations, some of which extended their support from inception. Others joined soon after the EYEP was launched.
“As you know, starting something new is a lonely journey, but it hasn’t been too lonely recently because we have you as partners. Going forward, it ceases to be just UNDP but includes the Government, the private sector and other partners,” said Ssebatindira.
She noted that some organisations not present during the event have also expressed their commitment to the Programme and will announce their pledges at a Private Sector
Engagement event to be held on 28 April 2023. The Minister of Commerce Industry and Trade, Hon. Mancoba Khumalo, will host the event.
Speaking at the same event, Ezulwini Municipality CEO, Mr Mathokoza Shongwe, said he was grateful to UNDP for the partnership because EYEP has extended the local government’s reach in supporting the youth to create jobs. He noted that the challenge now was to expand its reach and the budget.
“For it to make sense, I hope that other municipalities present here will also consider what they can bring from their budgets so that we are more meaning,” said Shongwe.
Nhlangano Municipality CEO, Mr Babsy Mavuso, also expressed his gratitude for being part of EYEP, adding that it will expand the local authority’s reach in supporting the town based in the Shiselweni Region.
Sharing the same sentiments was his counterpart from Mankayane Municipality, Mr David Madlopha, who said partnering with municipalities will also help the national Government to accelerate youth development.
“The people of Mankayane will be excited because they are always asking what is being done to address youth unemployment,” he said.
Senior government officials from the Ministries of Economic Planning and Development, Sports Culture and Youth Affairs, and Labour and Social Security also attended the event. Director of Sports Culture and Youth Affairs, Mr Bheki Thwala, appreciated the support from the private sector and municipalities.
The project will achieve its objectives and targets by establishing itself as a major pillar in the economic recovery and social transformation of Eswatini. It will connect 10,000 skilled graduates to local jobs by facilitating access to career advice and counselling to equip unemployed graduates with practical knowledge and relevant life skills. It will develop the skill set of 4,500 unskilled youth with artisanry skills and provision of starter kits that will facilitate job creation and placements.
Following a call for applications, over 2 800 registered on the portal for graduate placement, while over 600 applied for artisanal skills training with Ezulwini Municipality. The selection process for both graduates and non-graduates is currently taking place.
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