Gauteng Skills Programme launched today: what we learned

  • On Wednesday, the first portion of 500 000 young people from Gauteng are set to receive placement letters after applying to the nationwide government-driven upskilling programme.
  • Several small businesses have been selected by the provincial government to provide upskilling to participants.
  • These include the controversial SADICO, the College of Chartered Accountants, and the African Global Skills Academy, among others.

On Wednesday, the first portion of the 500 000 young people that the Gauteng Provincial Government promised to provide upskilling and training for packed inside the Rhema Bible Church in Randburg, Johannesburg to await placement letters.

The upskilling drive is part of a larger nationwide rollout of skills programmes and learnerships across South Africa, with Gauteng being the first province to begin providing skills positions to unemployed young people.

Over 700 000 young people are set to benefit from the entire programme when all is said and done, and it will cost taxpayers R23.8 billion. According to the Gauteng government, the young people would be provided with upskilling opportunities in areas such as:

  • Entrepreneurship,
  • Small business ownership,
  • ICT and digital literacy,
  • Infrastructure,
  • Transporation,
  • and digital services.

Only the first portion of the 500 000 from Gauteng will be receiving appointment letters at the event on Wednesday, and the provincial government hasn’t indicated how many are in the first cohort. Some of the private employers were present at the event to speak to young people gathered in anticipation of receiving placement.

One of the employers was the South African Digital Content Organisation (SADICO), which said that from 1st June 2024, it would be taking in young people from the upskilling initiative to teach them how to: “fix cellphones,” install solar panels, “learn how to build a computer, so they will know how to fix it,” learn digital migration, to build websites, and other things related to the fourth industrial revolution.

In 2020, City Press reported that SADICO promised 400 participants of a youth development programme it was running in Mpumalanga and Limpopo upskilling and monthly stipends. One former participant alleged they were promised R4 500 a month as per a 12-month contract they signed with the company.

Eventually, they allege that SADICO stopped paying the stipends. Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi made similar promises about stipends for the participants of the Gauteng Skills Programme. Previous participants of other employment programmes from Lesufi have alleged similar instances of non-payments and false promises.

“There are no jobs out there,” said Trevor Mwale, founder of the College of Chartered Accountants, “but we want people to consider entrepreneurship as a career option.” The college will be handling a portion of the entrepreneurship training angle of the programme.

Mwale said that the upskilling of entrepreneurs will take place practically, in that participants will learn to be better entrepreneurs while running their respective businesses. They will also be taught methods to keep their businesses afloat.

“We have come up with unique methodology, with the resources that are available, to ensure that we crowdfund and ensure that these businesses have sufficient capital and are actually able to be sustainable even after this training period,” explained Mwale.

It seems that the government has pegged smaller upskillers and businesses to aid with the programme. Other companies participate include the African Global Skills Academy which claims to provide opportunities to over 6 000 young people as part of the programme across Gauteng and the rest of the country.

Upskilling classes will begin in earnest in June, with participants set to begin courses at numerous companies across the province. We wish all the participants luck, and hope they receive what they were promised.

[Image – Gauteng Provincial Gov on X]


About Author


Related News