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Opportunity knocks for Jozi’s unemployed youth

South Africa

JOB CRISIS

Opportunity knocks for Jozi’s unemployed youth

The City of Johannesburg has launched seven Opportunity Centres across the city. (Photo: AdobeStock)

The City of Johannesburg has launched seven centres to combat the challenges of high unemployment, poverty and inequality. Another seven are planned.

The Thusanang Opportunity Centre’s objectives are twofold; it opens employment opportunities to the youth and aids entrepreneurs by providing facilities and training. The centre also offers expert business advice to small businesses (SMMEs). Job-seekers can hand in their CVs at the centre and fill out a form specifying the sector in which they are looking for employment, what they are willing to do and what experience they have.

Once the information is captured in the centre’s database, it is shared with potential recruiters in the private sector when a job opening specific to that person’s qualifications comes up. Absa, Discovery, SAICA, uMaStandi, 22 on Sloane, Smart Procurement World and Afrisam are some of the companies that have partnered with the centre to source potential employees and provide training.

Afrisam approached us looking for 20 entrepreneurs in the construction business and we assisted. Now those individuals are in training until November,” said Klipfontein View centre manager Herold Mbowana.

The Opportunity Centre is an initiative of the City of Johannesburg’s Department of Economic Development, which aims to combat the challenges of high unemployment, poverty and inequality. A month after the launch of the first centre on 19 June, there are now seven centres operating around Johannesburg, specifically the inner-city in Alexandra, Roodepoort, Soweto, Klipfontein View, Montclair and Diepsloot.

Mbowana says the plan is to establish 14 centres within the City of Johannesburg.

We would like to empower young people and entrepreneurs not only with skills but with the mindset that will enable them to think beyond a dependence on government,” said director at the MMC’s office in the Department of Economic Development, Andrew Stuart.

As a result of our city-wide entrepreneur’s symposium, we identified a large and sustainable need for such services in the area,” he said.

The centre has so far facilitated the training and placement of three work opportunities in the private sector with hopes of placing one more job-seeker within five weeks of the official opening of the centre.”

One success story is Pritchard Mkwebu, entrepreneur and director of a company called Browsers Solutions, specialising in data cabling for corporates and SMMEs.

When I went to Thusanang as a young entrepreneur I was still looking for offices to rent. We had found a lease but were still looking into moving into those offices, so we made use of their facilities,” said Mkwebu.

Our main focus was to scout young people and improve their lives, so we take four people from Klipfontein, use the centre’s facilities to train them and then recruit them into our company.”

Siphiwe Khumalo, 22, is unemployed and uses the centre to search for jobs as. She was visiting the centre with her friend, Zithembe Ngubo, 22, who had recommended the centre to her.

Ngubo has just completed his office administration course and is also using the facility to look for work.

This centre has been helping me with internet access, to apply for jobs and send emails. The staff treats us very well. I actually got a job in a call centre in Randburg and worked there for three months,” he said. DM

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