SA committed to upskilling youth

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pretoria - South Africa is committed to policies that strengthen the professionalisation of youth work, Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Collins Chabane said.

In a speech prepared to be delivered at the opening of the Commonwealth Conference on the Education and Training of Youth Workers on Sunday, Chabane said: “Given the huge challenges faced by young people in the country and across the globe, it was important to ensure that anybody who works with young people should be competent and skilled, with the required expertise to effectively address their needs and challenges.”

South Africa’s National Youth Policy defines youth work as “a field of practice that focuses on the holistic development of a young person, enabling the realisation of youth development via a combination of focused strategies".

Chabane said international best practices showed that the professionalisation of youth work had many benefits. These included strengthening capacity of youth workers to develop and deliver value added youth development services and empowerment, and provision of professional quality services to the youth.

The Commonwealth has, over many years, been promoting education and training of youth workers. In addition, there has been support for this process, through the provision of the Commonwealth Diploma in Youth Development offered by institutions of higher learning in some of the Commonwealth member governments.

“However, it is important to note that, despite progress made, there are still challenges that are worthy of attention, particularly in the realisation of professional recognition of youth work,” said Chabane.

He said it was important that countries come together to share experiences and identify the common challenges as well as solutions to advance youth work practice.

Like many other countries within and outside the Commonwealth, South Africa had also been on the road towards professionalising youth work for quite some time.

“We therefore have lessons to share and we are equally open to learn from the wealth of experiences from our counterparts representing various countries in this conference.

“We hope that the lessons learnt from this conference will help deal with pertinent common issues facing youth workers globally,” said Chabane. –