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R551 Million Training and Employment Projects Launched in KZN

Minister of Labor and Labor Thulas Nxesi launched R551 million training programs in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) aimed at job creation, skills development and support for entrepreneurship.

The programs launched Friday at the University of KZN in Glenwood, Durban, are aimed at job creation in the fiberglass, food processing and mixed agriculture sectors as a result of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), which entered into a partnership agreement with the Fuze Institute for Humanitarian Praxis.

The department said the UIF, through its Labor Activation Programs (LAP), has earmarked R551 million for the three projects for 19,921 beneficiaries – 70% of whom were former UIF contributors who lost their jobs to receive training in the following skills disciplines:

  • 14,771 beneficiaries as main food processors
  • 5,000 beneficiaries in enterprise development (mixed farming) and
  • 150 beneficiaries as fiber optic technician.

Job creation in KZN

Commenting on the launch, Nxesi said any efforts to create employment in South Africa should be strongly welcomed, given the country’s high unemployment rate.

“In light of the added ‘Employment’ mandate to our department, we are urging the private sector and all potential stakeholders to work with us to reduce and end unemployment in the country. Partnerships are essential for job creation.

“Therefore, all UIF training projects should be linked to job creation, as we do not want students to sit still at home after completing training,” he said.

14,771 beneficiaries to date

During the launch, FUZE Chief Executive Officer, Thandi Ngcobo, revealed that 14,771 beneficiaries were employed by the Ministry of Education in KZN after completing their education.

She said the Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism and Environment in KZN has pledged to support the 5,000 learning cooperatives by purchasing their agricultural products, while Link Africa has committed to employ the 150 beneficiaries as fiber optic technicians upon completion of the training.

Ngcobo added that the mixed farming students focus on poultry, pig farming, vegetables, eggs and smoothies.

Concerns about ‘growing unemployment’

The Director-General of Employment and Labour, Thobile Lamati, said the department is determined to play its role in job creation.

“We are concerned about the growing unemployment in the country. However, we pledge to play our part in projects like this launch, including jobs, especially for young people. I urge the students not to waste this opportunity, because it happens every now and then,” Lamati said.

Beneficiaries of the UIF training programs also attended the launch and shared their experiences.

ALSO READ: 3.9 million unemployed South Africans have given up hope of finding a job

Success Stories

Bayanda Zaca, one of the beneficiaries, said he often did construction jobs before starting UIF training.

“Today I am head chef at a top restaurant in Durban after completing UIF culinary training. I also help the new interns at the food processing center in Ndwedwe. I’m really grateful to the UIF for changing my life,” he said.

Lethabo Tsonope, who was funded by the UIF, revealed that she was a commercial pilot for FlySafair. Boeing 783-800

“I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would become a pilot because it was so expensive and affordability was an issue. I am grateful to be where I am today and urge young girls to put God first to succeed,” she said.

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