He said this on Saturday in Johannesburg during interactions with more than six thousand Gauteng grade 11 and 12 learners who attended the Youth Development Expo held at the University of Johannesburg Soweto Campus.
Scores of school learners flooded the campus to empower themselves with career opportunities during what was deemed the biggest Youth Development Expo to be held by government.
This was the sixth expo edition to be held by the Deputy President in the country and it was supported by more than 60 companies, government departments and state entities where each exhibited their services, products and opportunities for youth in their respective stalls.
“We know that investing in you is the best investment we can make in our country’s future. Your success will be our country’s success.
“We are gathered here today to introduce some of the many opportunities that exist for youth. This is a unique showcase of study and career opportunities offered by government, various agencies and the private sector,” said the Deputy President.
He urged students to understand that South Africa has a challenge of scarce and critical skills to grow the economy.
“Every two years, government publishes a list of the top 100 scarce skills in the country. This knowledge should inform your career choices.
“We have a dire shortage of electrical, civil, mechanical, industrial and chemical engineers. There are many unfilled vacancies for quantity surveyors, project managers and finance managers. We have a shortage of artisans. Many of these qualifications can be acquired at Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges,” he said.
The Deputy President said government is investing significantly in these colleges, and it is also leading efforts to strengthen partnerships between colleges and the private sector.
He encouraged companies to offer internships and experiential learning for students at TVET colleges.
“We encourage young people to seek volunteer opportunities and for companies and government departments and their agencies to absorb young people to develop their skills and improve their working experience,” said the Deputy President.
His words were supported by those of Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana, who said TVET colleges should the first choice for learners who have completed matric.
The Deputy Minister said learners with qualifications from TVET Colleges stood better chances of being employed than those who obtained qualifications at traditional universities, as the country is in need of specific skills.
He also urged the private sector to do more to ensure gender equity in their employment.
The deputy minister said access for young people with disabilities must also be expanded by companies, state agencies and government departments.
He encouraged young people to gather information about how to start their own businesses.
“We are inspired by the success of new entrepreneurs who have taken advantage of the booming tourism industry in Soweto, and the many entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries,”he said.