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Employment and Labour Minister, Thulas Nxesi, has launched a skills training and entrepreneurship programme designed to benefit the youth and the unemployed in the country.

The programme will afford Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) beneficiaries and unemployed youth with an opportunity to be integrated into the labour market or start their own businesses.

Nxesi announced the launch of the Unemployment Insurance Fund Labour Activation Programme (LAP) during a media briefing held in Pretoria on Thursday.

LAP was established within the UIF to enhance the department’s mandate through enhancing the employability of the unemployed through training; enable entrepreneurship through enterprise development; preserve jobs through the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and Productivity SA, and collaborate across government departments and entities to massify jobs, skills training and enterprise creation.

Nxesi said an amount of R23.8 billion will be allocated to implement this plan.

“Opportunities will run between 12 and 36 months. The money invested in the plan will be recouped by the UIF through contributions and revenue generated from investments, as has been the sustainability model of the fund.

“The spread of our implementation nationally will be across every province, with 333 recommended projects to provide seven training, small enterprise support and employment opportunities to 704 000 unemployed people,” Nxesi explained.

Nxesi said the department is collaborating across with other government departments and entities to massify jobs.

“As early as next week, we will be talking about a joint programme with the Department of Higher Education and Training, and Small Business, which is also a collaboration with the programme we are talking about today,” Nxesi said.

The Minister assured that the projects have all been subjected to meticulous quality assurance processes to ensure that they are compliant with the policy and legislation.

“There are necessary controls in place, there is capacity and necessary resources in place, and these programmes produce the real outcomes in terms of the jobs and at a perineural scheme or prospect.

“Employability interventions are delivered through contracts with the condition that they guaranteed jobs for beneficiaries with a minimum period of employment of one year post intervention,” Nxesi said.

Nxesi said he hopes the companies and industries will contribute significantly to the sectors, including agriculture, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), construction, engineering, manufacturing, education, transport, and mining.

The first roll-out of LAP projects will be launched in Gauteng with the provincial government on 6 April 2024, followed by KwaZulu-Natal on 16 April, Western Cape 17 April, Eastern Cape 19 April, Free State 22 April, North West 23 April, and Mpumalanga on 24 April 2024.

The launch will also move to Limpopo on 30 April, with the last roll-out to take place in the Northern Cape on 9 May 2024.

The programme will be offered to people across all ages. – SAnews.gov.za

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