Tourism Deputy Minister Fish Mahlalela has called on the tourism sector to create more initiatives to curb youth unemployment in the country.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony for learners who had successfully completed the Hospitality Youth Training Programme (HYTP) learnership, on Friday, he lamented the low number of graduates who had been successfully placed within the industry.
The HYTP is an initiative of the Department of Tourism that addresses skills shortages in the sector, while contributing towards government’s greater objective of creating employment for the youth.
“Our country is faced with a high unemployment rate, especially among the youth. As government, we have taken a stance to strengthen our skills development and empowerment initiatives to capacitate the youth to prepare them for the world of work.
“As we celebrate the achievement of the 289 youth who are graduating today, I am equally concerned that a large number of them are yet to find employment or support to pursue entrepreneurship opportunities in the hospitality space. However, I am also hopeful that their acquired qualification will give them a competitive edge as they search for employment," he commented.
The Deputy Minister insisted that businesses within the tourism value chain could contribute immensely to government's goal of creating 11-million jobs by 2030.
“Our skills development training programmes are world class, and I’m confident that we are releasing qualified and proficient young people who can provide an excellent service.
“The entirety of the tourism value chain has the potential to help us curb unemployment by offering employment opportunities for competent graduates. The multiplier effect of investing in competent youth will not only yield positive gains for the tourism market, but also for our economy.
“I therefore call on the sector to boldly invest in employing our graduates, and help us build a thriving economy and a better country,” Mahlalela said.
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online