Pretoria - The Department of Communications has officially launched an e-Cadre Program which offers Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills to unemployed youth from rural areas.
Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda said through the program, thousands of youth will be recruited to provide technical support in respective service deployment areas such as clinics and police stations where they can assist communities to access government services through the use of ICTs.
Nyanda said the e-Cadre Program aims to address the shortage of skilled personnel to respond to ICT needs in South Africa.
The programme, which is a partnership between the department, the National Youth Service and 15 Further Education and Training (FET) colleges, has three phases - formal training, service deployment and an exit strategy.
The first phase of the programme was concluded last year with the training of 765 young matriculants in the International Computers Drivers Licence (ICDL) through the 15 FET colleges.
"The programme provides young people, between the ages of 18 and 30, with an opportunity to contribute towards civic responsibility and reconstruction while acquiring skills to enhance their entrepreneurial capacity," Nyanda said.
He said his department had already spent about R8 million since the programme was introduced. This amount covered the tuition and assessment fees for the training, life orientation module, stipend and travelling and accommodation fees.
"We believe that ICTs can create greater access to opportunities, redress inequalities, improve the quality of teaching and learning and provide learners with personalised learning experiences."
The official launch of the e-Cadre Program took place in Rustenburg, North West.