Perceptions among Gauteng youth on the Tshepo skills empowerment initiative
The youth have always grappled with under-development and unemployment during the apartheid era and they still face the same challenges under the constitutional democracy. To address youth unemployment and development the Gauteng Provincial Government established a flagship programme the Tshepo 1 million (T1M) Skills empowerment programme. At its inception (in 2014) it was meant to transform the lives of 500 000 unemployed youth in Gauteng and in June 2017, the Premier of Gauteng David Makhura extended the scope of this programme to 1 million with the aim of empowering 1 million youth to benefit from inclusive employment and inclusive economic participation. The primary focus of this study was on the perceptions of the youth in Gauteng about whether they perceive that the T1M programme as a mechanism that can be employed to address youth unemployment, the skills gap and lack of marketable skills. The literature review reveals that joblessness dampens young persons’ selfesteem and affects their interpersonal relations, often leading to total dependence on their families and despondency. The study used phenomenology, and qualitative data was collected using semi-structured interviews. To protect participants from contracting the Coronavirus, interviews were conducted telephonically. The study revealed that the youth perceive that there is a link between the qualifications, practical experience gathered from youth empowerment programme and youth employability. The researcher found that the youth who participated in the T1M programme believed that they only acquired job-readiness skills and were not offered any entrepreneurial skills. The study uncovered a myriad of challenges that if left unattended may thwart T1M’s youth empowerment initiatives. These challenges include lack of visibility, poor branding and marketing, non-existence of a funding model for youth-owned businesses, lack of entrepreneurial skills training and connecting the youth to job opportunities that are far from their residential areas. This research make recommendations on how the T1M programme can improve on how it rolls out its youth empowerment programme and increase its visibility within the province.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Management in Public Development and Management to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, School of Governance, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2022