Job creation is everyone’s job, says Uutoni

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Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Windhoek – There is a need for all government and non-government institutions to put efforts together to help create more jobs if the country is to address the issue of youth unemployment, Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Erastus Uutoni has said.

Uutoni made this call while responding to a question posed to him in parliament last week by United Democratic Front (UDF) MP Abuise Auchab.

Auchab asked Uutoni how the ministry planned to deal effectively with the deepening unemployment among Namibian youth and how the youth demographics could be seen as an asset for change, progress and dynamism.
“The issue of creating employment for the youth should be viewed as a cross-cutting and collective responsibility for all stakeholders that are offices, ministries, agencies, the private sector and the public at large,” said the youth minister.

Uutoni says the quality and relevance of education is often considered as the first root cause of youth unemployment.

However, he said, high education does not guarantee decent employment in a labour market where employment opportunities are limited.

Uutoni says the ministry wants to ensure that young people who are unable to go into mainstream tertiary and vocational skills institutions are equipped with soft skills so that they are more employable, or able to become self-reliant as entrepreneurs.

“We offers skills training at our various centres, skills such as basic computer training, tailoring and other vocational skills such as carpentry, bricklaying, hospitality, welding,” he said.
Also, he said, the Namibia Youth Credit Scheme (NYCS) is a project of the ministry that offers soft loans to young people who are keen on entrepreneurship to enable them to start small enterprises resulting in self-employment and to further contribute as possible employers.

Furthermore, Uutoni said, as per the ministry’s Strategic Plan of 2017/2022, the ministry has planned to establish 121 youth enterprises through the Harambee Prosperity Plan, and the current progress on this project is that nine youth enterprises have been trained thus far and plans to disperse the funds are still being worked on.
This process, he said, is targeted to be completed by March 2019.
He further called on the regional councils to select and endorse two constituency-based youth enterprises per region for training.

Uutoni said the targeted number of proposals is 28.
He says the high rate of unemployment is partly because of youth dropping out of school, particularly in grades 10 and 12 and not being able to enter mainstream tertiary institutions.

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