Youth Capital’s Action Plan recognises that the government has existing programmes that can assist young people with gaining work experience. These programmes include the Expanded Public Works Programme and the Presidential Employment Stimulus Intervention.
What is the Expanded Public Works Programme?
The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) has been established by the Government and it’s managed by the National Department of Public Works. Its aim is to provide “poverty and income relief through temporary work for the unemployed to carry out socially useful activities”. Temporary work means that these programmes sign people up for short-term opportunities. While these are time bound, they can provide essential experience, which can bridge young people with their first decent job.
EPWP projects promote employment in four sectors: Infrastructure, Non-State, Environment & Culture, and Social sectors.
The Infrastructure Sector.
The Infrastructure sector involves the use of labour-intensive methods in the construction and maintenance of public sector -funded infrastructure projects. The key EPWP Infrastructure programmes include Vuk’uphile, large projects, provincial roads and the National Youth Service (NYS). The latter is run by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and is described as a programme “aimed at engaging South African youth in community service activities to strengthen service delivery, build patriotism, promote nation-building, foster social cohesion and to assist the youth to acquire occupational skills necessary to access sustainable livelihood opportunities”.
The Non State Sector.
The Non State Sector Programme (NSS) was introduced in 2009. The programme uses wage subsidies to support Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) in their community development initiatives. The NSS comprises of two programmes, namely the Community Work Programme (CWP) and the Non-Profit Organisation.
What makes the CWP different is that it is also a community programme that aims at improving the area and the quality of life for the people living there. It therefore provides opportunities for people to do work that benefits their communities; this includes fixing community assets like schools, road and parks, and setting up food gardens. The impact of COVID-19 has only deepened the range socioeconomic issues our country faces; advancing the employability of young people through volunteer jobs in the social and care sector should be a priority. Through the CWP, people in the area help to decide on the kind of work they need, and what is most urgent.
The Environment and Culture Sector.
Work in this sector includes projects that improve the local environment through programmes spearheaded by various departments. The sector builds South Africa’s natural and cultural heritage to create both short-term and long-term work opportunities.
Key Environment and Culture flagship programmes include the following:
- Sustainable Land-based Livelihoods;
- Waste Management;
- Tourism and Creative Industries;
- Parks and Beautification;
- Coastal Management; and
- Sustainable Energy.
DUCT provides an example of an EPWP project with a focus on the environment. You can follow this link to learn about the work DUCT does.
The Social Sector.
Programmes in this sector are concerned with the delivery of social development. People who join these projects can attend skills programmes and learnerships to grow the access to social services from people in communities where they work.
The projects target development in Early Childhood Development, home community based care, school nutrition programmes and community crime prevention.
Presidential Stimulus Employment Intervention [COVID response]
The Presidential Stimulus Employment Intervention was announced by the Presidency at the end of 2020, as a response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the job market and the local economy.
The Presidential Employment Stimulus set out to create and support 800,000 job opportunities, with R12.6 billion committed in the current financial year and an investment of R100 billion over the next three years to support the recovery of employment rates.
The Presidential Employment Stimulus has three objectives:
- Expanding public and social employment, creating new opportunities for work;
- Protecting existing jobs and livelihoods;
- Supporting a recovery in employment rates through other market-based mechanisms, such as funding for the creative sector and incentives for global business services.
As part of this programme, the Department of Basic Education designed and ran the Basic Education Employment Intervention (BEEI); 300 000 Education Assistants were hired with the assistance of the brand new platform, SAYouth.mobi. The contracts, which originally had a duration of three months, have been extended until the end of April 2021.
These opportunities are usually made available at municipal and provincial level, and soon on SAYouth.mobi – this means that they will be visible to all young people.
What about you?
Did you take part in any public works programmes? What did you learn? Send us a WhatsApp and share your story with us.