Coega Development Corporation ahead of the pack in youth empowerment

JUNE 17, 2016

Unemployment continues to pose a challenge for the country’s youth. The recently released Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) by Statistics SA for Quarter one of 2016 highlights an increase in the unemployment rate. The survey shows an increase in the national unemployment rate from 24,5% in the previous quarter to 26,7% in the first quarter of 2016.

In the spirit of June being recognised as Youth Month in South Africa, with a specific focus on 16 June, also known as Youth Day, a pertinent yet relevant question springs to mind - can South Africa empower young people to positively contribute to the country’s economy?

The CDC’s approach in growing the economy of the country is led by its vision – to become the leading catalyst for championing socio economic development in the country.

“The organisation does this through a number of initiatives targeted at employment opportunities for youth and training and development. Two key programmes that proactively assist with creating youth employment is its 18 month internship programme that is targeted at young graduates. The second programme is the Building Inspector Training Programme (BITP) contributing to the development and empowerment of young people within the Eastern Cape in the infrastructure sector,” says CDC’s Head of Marketing & Communications, Dr Ayanda Vilakazi.

“The CDC understands that unemployment is linked to poverty and inequality. As an agent for the championing of socio-economic development in South Africa, CDC contributes towards resolving issues and challenges faced by South Africans, especially the youth, such as unemployment and shortage of skills,” adds Vilakazi.

The CDC’s 18 month internship programme has enrolled 185 interns in the 2015/16 FY.

“As an intern working at CDC, I have gained much exposure. I feel that my growth as a young professional and knowledge of the workplace has vastly improved and for that I am grateful to the CDC,” says Nosipho Ngalo, CDC intern marketing and communications.

The BITP programme was launched in April 2015 and its aim is to develop a solid and formidable pool of building inspectors who will create the desired outcomes on top structured buildings with the aim of improving their quality. 

The most critical skills in the programme are compliance to legal requirements including building regulations, health and safety standards; regular and frequent inspection of building works on site in reference to drawings or specifications.

In addition, measuring and sampling building materials to check quality, identify defects and provide guidance with regard to corrective measures are also the skills leaned.

According to Mzoxolo Dube, CDC Head of Technical Skills Development Centre, the programme has progressed as planned.

“All participants finished the initial training in December 2015 and they are currently busy with the experiential training under the mentorship of qualified Coega building inspectors. We are looking forward to their progress as they contribute to the region’s skills base,” concludes Dube.