SCHOONOORD – To lift the hustle of young people in the district into success stories, Sekhukhune District Municipality (SDM) hosted its fifth Youth Opportunities Expo on Friday at Peter Nchabeleng Sports Complex in Schoonoord outside Jane Furse.
According to the district municipality years before the introduction of the Expo, the Executive Mayor’s office was flooded with thousands of invitations requesting the Executive Mayor to grace different events and worthy causes during Youth Month.
Speaking on behalf Stanley Ramaila, SDM Executive Mayor, Councillor Alfred Matlala, said they realised that they really needed to devise an event medium that accommodated all categories of young people from ages of 14 to 35 years-old in line with National Youth Policy, as limited resources did not permit them to be available for all the young people of Sekhukhune and honour their invitations.
Matlala said they also realised that young people were a transient class that needed to be catered for holistically as young people migrated throughout the circles and stages of life.
“We needed a forum that continues to connect, empower and enable them to make a difference. The four pillars of the youth expo programme outline are careers, funding, entrepreneurship, and enterprise development,” said Matlala.
The Acting Executive Mayor added that in terms of careers, they had a solid working relationship with universities, education NGO’s and Technical Vocational Colleges that provided career information and counseling to school going and out of school youth.
“This includes inviting role models that walked the academic path with excellence and dedication to encourage many more young people of Sekhukhune to walk this path. In terms of funding, we are working closely with the Department of Small business Development and its agencies to open doors for deserving youth enterprises to be funded in their quest to play a substantial role in the economy of the district and beyond,” said Matlala.
Matlala said in the entrepreneurial space, he congratulated Sekhukhune Development Agency (SDM) for signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (YEP) led by Loyiso Mgudlwa on the sidelines of Sekhukhune Economic Summit held at Loskop Dam Aventura on 11 and 12 June 2019.
“The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding is crafted to commit both institutions to facilitate and optimize youth’s access to seizing opportunities and prospects highlighted in the district’s local economic development strategy including the forth industrial revolution,” added Matlala.
The Acting Executive Mayor further said the past five years of Sekhukhune Youth Opportunities Expo were not wasted as they have gained insight into broadening the net in attracting young people to seize economic opportunities and change the narrative of being desperate seekers of jobs into creators of jobs.
Over 300 young people including school children, the unemployed and entrepreneurs attended the event.