“We have been enamoured by the role many young professionals are playing on the frontlines of the response to Covid-19,” the Foundation said. “It powerfully demonstrates the need to commit to the development of young people, especially in an uncertain world,” it said.
With youth unemployment figures in South Africa expected to worsen as a result of the global pandemic, participants at the webinar said the long term solution lies in addressing skills development from an early age, including both technical and soft skills, as well as an ongoing focus on skills transfer.
The webinar aimed to strengthen the partnership between youth development practitioners and the private sector in confronting the challenges to continued youth development support under present economic conditions.
Here’s what some of the 60 plus attendees had to say:
“Covid-19 could prove to be a cocktail of disaster or a real opportunity to take bold actions and make even bolder investments to help realise the potential of our youth. Today, right now, young people need our support and it’s time we realise that challenges almost always travel alongside opportunities,” Mmabatho Maboya, CEO of Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation.
“Where we, as supporters of this sect, should broaden our thinking is in the development of alternative skills. Many of us are looking after students who’ve already received education but what of those who are being left behind, who will never go to university? Many think support is only about money but, in some cases, it’s as simple as letting a business-minded young person job shadow you for a day to get a real feel for what running a business entails. There are many innovative, interested young people out there who are ready to absorb real life lessons accessible through the provision of psychosocial support, like mentorship and coaching, and work readiness training, like helping them secure a driver’s license,” Chantelle Oosthuizen, Executive Director at CRET.
“Take a look around today and you’ll see, in spite of the fact that they are without a doubt most affected by Covid-19, young people are still demonstrating leadership, bravery and innovation in terms of global responses – they are our workers, health and safety inspectors, researchers, communicators and innovators with a voice that wants to be part of the solution for a healthier, safer, gender equal world. This is why organisations, including Naspers Labs, CRF’s Black Umbrellas and, naturally, CRET, are investing so heavily in this sector right now,” Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa of Naspers SA.
“When you support the youth, you support the country and, as a CRET alum, I know the true value of organisations that strive to find ways to support them practically in today’s times. Covid-19 has been a shock to the system – we never anticipated this. As a young person, it’s been a humbling experience, one that has seen us having to think on our feet and also one that has seen numerous demonstrations of true humanity. At CRET, Ubuntu is real in that we are taught to exist outside of ourselves and within a community and it is this understanding of my place in the world that has enabled me to continue doing what I need to do in the medical field during this time,” Dineo Nono, CRET alumnus.
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