Youth encouraged to act on available opportunities

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has encouraged the youth of South Africa to act on the opportunities available to them, so that there is no regret or sorrow when they look back at their lives.

The Deputy President was addressing the Youth Development and Career Expo on Saturday at Nkowankowa Stadium, in Tzaneen.

The Youth Expo is part of government's work to advance young people particularly in enhancing their participation in the economy to enable them to take their rightful place in society.

It provides career guidance and information on further education and training opportunities to learners in Grades 10-12, unemployed youth and youth who have dropped out from high school.

The expo hosted exhibition stands, which provided youth with valuable information on career guidance and further education and training opportunities.

It was also a platform to encourage private sector companies to offer internships and experiential learning programmes to young people.

Addressing the youth, Deputy President Ramaphosa said the day was a unique opportunity for them to take control of their future.

"It is a moment for you to take seriously all the partners that are working very hard to offer you a better life than generations before you had. Information is power. And today, that power is in your hands," the Deputy President said.

He also encouraged the youth to make learning a part of their lives, take care of themselves and others, and respect themselves and others.

"Take responsibility in your personal relationships - as a young man or woman. So, get wise, get tested and condomise. And remember, you can always choose to abstain. If you are HIV positive, there is support [and] with treatment, you can live to see your dreams come to fruition."

Building better lives for young people

Deputy President Ramaphosa said the Youth Development and Career Expo was about social partners working together to build better lives for the young people of South Africa.

He said that investing in the development of young people is a priority for government.

"We have a shortage of engineers, scientists, artisans, and that is why government is working to ensure that more young South Africans are able to study at our universities and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.

"We are leading efforts to strengthen partnerships between TVET colleges in particular and the private sector. We are encouraging companies to offer internships and experiential learning for students at these colleges," the Deputy President said.

He said government will continue to mobilise the private sector, the donor community and society at large to contribute to ensuring that the doors of learning and culture are open to all.

He also urged students who will be enrolled at the country's universities and TVET colleges to make the best use of these opportunities.

"We urge you to focus on your studies and excel. It is your generation that must lead the efforts to deepen social dialogue and tolerance. It is your generation that must say the burning of schools, libraries and lecture halls has no place in our country.

"We encourage you to seek volunteer opportunities. We encourage companies and government departments and agencies to absorb young people to develop their skills and improve their working experience," the Deputy President said.

He further encouraged work seekers to interact with the Department of Labour and register on the database of the Employment Services of South Africa.

However, the Deputy President raised his concern on young women, who constitute the majority of unemployed youth, and challenged the private sector to do more to empower women in the workplace.

"Access for young people with disabilities must also be expanded by companies, state agencies and government departments. Entrepreneurship is the heartbeat of a developing economy.

"Working together, we must reignite the spirit of entrepreneurship that was discouraged by the racist policies of apartheid. It is our local entrepreneurs who will ultimately create the millions of jobs that we need to grow an inclusive economy."

He wished all learners in the country, especially those in grade 12, good luck in their examinations.

Source: South African Government News Agency.

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