Empower yourselves, make use of opportunities in tourism

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Pretoria - The youth must make use of opportunities available to them in the tourism sector, says Tourism Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe.

"Our government advocates for the advancement of youth economic empowerment. As a department we have prioritised the advancement of youth in our plans for growing tourism. We will ensure that young people are actively participating and benefiting from the initiatives and opportunities provided by the sector," said Deputy Minister Thabethe.

Speaking at an Imbizo hosted by the national Department of Tourism, provincial department and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) recently at Ikageng stadium in Potchefstroom, North West, the Deputy Minister called on young people to look out for opportunities where they can empower themselves.

The Deputy Minister added that more than 2 654 youth graduated from the skills development programmes run by the Department of Tourism in the 2016/17 financial year, of which 1 837 were women.

In addition, the Department of Tourism will be implementing its Hospitality Youth Training programme in this financial year.

The programme will provide an opportunity for 200 unemployed youth from the North West province to participate in the programme.

“This is just one of the many opportunities that the youth can participate in, and I encourage you all to look out for such opportunities to empower yourselves," added the Deputy Minister.

This, as data released by Statistics South Africa’s Qaurterly Labour Force Survey showed that unemployed youth (aged 15-34) account for 38.6% of the national overall unemployment rate.

Despite the figures, Deputy Minister Thabethe is optimistic that tourism has the potential to create opportunities that will contribute to alleviating youth unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Buti Manamela, has encouraged the youth to start thinking broadly, and look into opportunities that promote entrepreneurship.

"Government can only do so much, and young people need to pro-actively seize opportunities and make them work. You need to start businesses where you can employ each other, and build your communities. Organisations such as the NYDA can assist with funding and business proposals," said Deputy Minister Manamela.

At the imbizo, which was attended by over 500 youth, the community expressed the need for government to ensure effective information flow so that youth are better able to access opportunities provided by government entities.

Responding to this, North West Department of Tourism MEC Desbo Mohono said government will work with communities to improve the flow of information.

The MEC also added that the provincial department recently hosted a Tourism Career Expo to share information with the youth about employment and skill training opportunities that exist in the industry.

"We will host similar information sharing events in the future to ensure that we disseminate information to the right people at the right time," said MEC Mohono.  – SAnews.gov.za

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