The Deputy Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Dr. Chana Pilane-Majake together with the European Union (EU) Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary: HE M Cornaro, presented certificates to graduate interns of the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID).The 120 learners represented the Gauteng Province and were identified by the Gauteng City Region Academy (GCRA). The National School of Government (NSG), in partnership with the European Union (EU), facilitated the Breaking Barriers to Entry (BB2E) for a total number of 1440 interns from Limpopo, Free State, Eastern Cape, KZN and Gauteng. The fist training event, which took place in Limpopo, started on the 11 June and the last training will be on  Friday 13 July 2018.

The NSG embarked on this massive training to empower unemployed graduates with the requisite knowledge and skills needed for employment in the public service. The EU invested an amount of €279282, 40 (R4,4m) towards this specific programme, and the target  to empower 1440 identified unemployed young graduates across the country during the months of June and July. The BB2E is a flagship programme of the NSG aimed at preparing unemployed graduates to access employment opportunities in the public service.

In her address, Deputy Minister Pilane-Majake mentioned that “the strength for transformation of our continent lies in the foundations laid up by our Youth today, only if they model themselves around past icons such as – Sankara and Nelson Mandela”. Her main encouragement was around young people being innovative and coming up with solutions tailor-made for their challenges. Currently, the South African population is at 55, 7 million, with youth unemployment rate at 38.2%. South African youth are still vulnerable in the labour market. “Youth unemployment, however, is not unique to South Africa”, said Deputy Minister, “ it is a global phenomenon as there are about 71 million unemployed youth, aged 15–24 years, globally in 2017, with many of them facing long-term unemployment”.

During his address, the European Union (EU) Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary: HE M Cornaro  highlighted that one crucial aspect of youth unemployment is structural unemployment, a mismatch between the skills that workers in the economy can offer and the skills demanded of workers by employers. “Structural unemployment affects all regions around the world and it impacts not only economies but also hampers the transition to equitable and inclusive societies envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Developmentd”, said M Cornaro.

The NSG and the EU are currently in a five year partnership that contributes to the National Development Plan, and the aim is to implement new and more effective ways of learning and teaching to bring substantial change in the South African public service.  This is what some of the BB2E participants had to say….

“The BB2E was an interesting experience where we learnt about our government structure and how the government functions. This also provided us with an opportunity to know about government rules and regulations.   There was a lot of insight shared on what it means to be a cadre public servant, as real life experiences were shared with the group. Now, with the knowledge I have received over the past week, I can say I’m at a better advantage for job opportunities and interviews in the public sector as I now know what it entails to be a public servant”. – Ms Pear Lamola, intern at the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development.

“For me, the BB2E training was quite an experience as it gave me a new perspective on how the country is and what state it’s in because of our political, social and developmental situation as a people. We’ve come a long way as a country. We’ve also grown and become more aware of how we as a people are being managed by our government. Our government still needs. But above all the BB2E training was a great opportunity to get more insight and gain a broader understanding on government policies and procedures. Furthermore, I also got to network and meet more of my colleagues”. – Mr Kayombo Magadla, intern at the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development.