It was 3D Printers, Drones and Self-driving cars at Umhlathuze Municipality's launch of the revolutionary "Youth Economic Emancipation Programme" this past Thursday at the ZCBF Community Hall.
The high-profile event with 100 Grade-12 students from various high schools across the Umhlathuze region was attended by amongst others, His Worship, Mayor of Umhlathuze, Cllr MG Mhlongo, Deputy Mayor Cllr KD Sbiya, RBIDZ Chief Operations Officer Muzi Shange, NYDA COO Mr Siyabonga Mbambo, uMfolozi TVET College Acting Principal, Elsie du Toit as well as Chief Director in Youth Development, Mr Sabelo Ntuli.
The City has been facing a number of challenges for the past few years due to a stagnant economy, high levels of digital illiteracy amongst youths, a mismatch of skills and market demands, COVID19 and the recent devastating looting spree.
In his keynote address, Mayor of the City, Cllr Mduduzi Mhlongo said the programme is aimed at providing a wide range of opportunities to young people from skill development, job placements, on the job training, bursaries, etc.
“It is true that our current systems are unkind to the youth. It is for this reason that this program must open the eyes of young people, to be open to getting a chance of being re-skilled in order to be eligible to meet the skills required by jobs that are currently created by the economy so as to be active participants in the same economy.
Re-skilling requires that young people realize that their qualifications, hard earned as they were, will not assist them anymore, they must be open minded to career changes and choose other pathways like Artisanship and other scarce skills.
Mhlongo also launched the YEEP portal linked to the City of uMhlathuze website, where all young people will make their applications and deposit the skills they possess for further consideration.
“We are not doing this alone, but rather with all companies and industries in the City since it is them who should provide a chunk of young emancipation initiatives.”
The "uMhlathuze 10thousand Pathway" based diversion programme will aim to have at least 100 young people being at various segments of the pipeline at a time, of which the ultimate target is 10 000 by the end. The program will also aim to have each applicant being profiled & allocated a pathway, each participant to the monitored along the pipeline until they are linked to pertinent opportunities as presented by our partners in the private sector.
AlgoAtWork Robotics Academy's exhibition stand with uMfolozi TVET College was the drawcard of the day amongst exhibitors as it was stretching over the entire back section with 3D Printers working continuously and product prototypes on showcase developed by children as young as 10 years old at the Richards Bay Technohub- a facility for startups supported by the TVET through its partnership with Kreishandwerkerschaft Steinfurt-Warendorf and Algorhythmlab, a digital agency based at the hub.
Richards Bay Mineral also committed to supporting the programme and also donated 10 laptop computers to learners who are supported by the City of uMhlathuze Matric Assistance Programme and now enrolled at different universities noting the need to migrate to technology and home schooling.