Acting Public Service and Administration Minister, Thulas Nxesi, says government is seeking innovative new ways of linking learning with earning.
“The youth of South Africa continues to be disadvantaged in the labour market, with an unemployment rate higher than the national average,” Nxesi said at the official launch of the Future of Work Ambassadors Programme, in Pretoria, on Friday.
Nxesi hopes the programme will strengthen and modernise the recruitment and retention of youth in the public service, and provide a comprehensive experience of learning while earning.
The programme seeks to reimagine the government graduate recruitment programme, which has, in its current form, been rendered as ineffective in unearthing potential and skilling graduates into future leaders in the public service.
Nxesi said while the graduate unemployment rate remains relatively low in South Africa compared to other educational levels, unemployment among the youth continues to be high, irrespective of educational attainment.
Nxesi explained that the Future of Work Ambassadors Programme will see the placement of 33 young graduates in internship programmes across selected national and provincial departments for a duration of 24 months. Participants will be provided with practical exposure to the workplace, and be capacitated with skills and training to complement their academic credentials.
“The purpose of the programme is to bring a different approach to government’s graduate recruitment programme that is focused on future skills,” Nxesi said.
The public service seeks to build a foundation and legacy to ensure that it recruits and retains a coterie of fresh skills and energetic candidates in the public service.
“The programme will unlock potential in young graduates to enhance their capacity and to grow them into future leaders in the public service.
“The target group is youth between the ages of 18 and 35, and this new cohort of future public servants is expected to receive skills that will enable them to become progressive thinkers, who are innovators and problem solvers.
“Our endeavour is to provide the participants with workplace exposure to improve their employability and value offering to the public service, and for them to establish long-term careers in the public sector,” the minister said.
The inaugural group of 33 graduates and future participants in the programme will be placed in various departments nationally and provincially, and will receive a monthly stipend of R6 275 for a duration of 24 months.
The ambassadors will receive training in their fields of qualification, and mentorship and exchange of knowledge, experiences and ideas on how the public service can serve the citizens better.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will also expose the selected candidates to international peer learning through exposing them to public service management in other countries.
Speaking at the same event was Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSETA) Chief Executive Officer Bontle Lerumo who emphasized the importance of exposing the graduates to workplace experience.
“We need to expose interns to real work experience,” she said.
Lerumo expressed concern at the low number of graduates who are taking part in the programme, saying she hopes the number of participants will increase.
Lerumo encouraged unemployed graduates to register with the Department of Labour and Employment for placement.
She commended the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) for recruiting the participants within a short space of time.
One of the participants in the programme Nikelo Tyane (27), who holds an LLB degree from the University of Johannesburg, told SAnews that he is happy with the programme and placement at the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities.
“I am going to use the opportunity to gain experience on how government works and how to serve people,” Tyane said.
Although Tyane did not know exactly what he will be doing, he said he was looking forward to getting experience and new ideas.
The current cohort of graduates that are being recruited are from the following fields:
– Finance and Supply Chain Management
– Risk Management
– Human Resource Management
– Marketing Management
– Public Management
The programme was launched by the Department of Public Service and Administration, in partnership with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), the Public Sector Education Authority (PSETA) and the United National Development Programme
Source: South African Government News Agency