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‘Building a future with decent work for young people’


The Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) Employment Conference was held on Thursday under the theme “Building a future with decent work for young people”, for stakeholders to address the way forward for youth employment concerns in Zimbabwe.

The conference was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Youth, International Labour Organisation and United Nations Development Programme, ZYC and other youth stakeholders.

The guest of honour, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere announced Zimbabwean youth will benefit from $20 million under the Stanbic Wealth Creation Fund.

This fund will help youth access capital to start enterprises, increasing income generation and opportunites for employment.

This will apply mainly to the distribution, services, telecommunications, tourism, engineering, manufacturing, agriculture and mining sectors.

ZYC director Livingstone Dzikira presented a proposal on the way forward regarding youth employment. Below are some of the points made:

It should be a collective responsibility and that there is strength in partnerships

We need entrepreneurship development training
Compulsory apprenticeships should be included in the skills development strategy

More commitment is needed from government — the budget should be directed towards the youth

More skills training is needed in the education curriculum — a skills development programme is needed institutions

Invest in information and communications technology (ICT) — “young people should be able to look for jobs on their phones”

The indigenisation policy should also benefit young people

Public works programmes should be co-ordinated by local authorities allowing young people in those areas to participate

Government must call for a minimum quota for every bank to lend money to young people

This shows that rather than just discussing the problem it is now time to act and come up with a constructive way forward.

“Formal economies were grown from informal economies,” said Thokozile Chitepo, principal director in the Youth ministry.

“It is now time to prepare and give young people a chance in the informal economy as well. This will allow young people to generate income, yet another facet of employment.

“Without skills development, knowledge and good marketing young people we will not be able to grow the economy,” Chitepo added.

The Youth ministry has so far managed to provide various services to young people. The launch of the Old Mutual Youth Fund last year has resulted in opportunities for youth businesses. “These are funds to fund your aspirations . . . let’s equip and empower everyone,” Kasukuwere said.

On another note, two young people voiced the concerns of the unemployed.

Sharon Jackson (26) said: “How can society take us as grown-ups when we can’t even buy things for ourselves?” Tatenda Songore, executive director of Youth Advocates Zimbabwe, asked a valid question as young people move forward: “What do you expect young people to do when you ask what they (young people) can give you?”

It is time to build a future with decent work for young people.

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