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A City pilot project is designed to give job seekers and unemployed graduates a better shot at more long-term employment. Read more below:

The City of Cape Town is in the midst of a pilot project set to take its implementation of the Expanded Public Works Programme a step further.

The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) is a National Government initiative launched in 2004 with the aim of giving unemployed South Africans a hand up through temporary jobs to earn some form of income, but also to acquire skills that could make them more employable. Job seekers are required to register on a database in their local subcouncil which makes them eligible for job opportunities that arise in that area on a rotational basis.The Engineering and Asset Management Branch of the City’s Water and Sanitation Department, which is responsible for the running and maintenance of the department’s infrastructure such as bulk water and wastewater, has been chosen to implement an 18-month project. The project started on 1 August 2016 and will train and equip 110 semi-skilled workers by partnering them with skilled, qualified artisans.

The candidates recruited for the project are from the City’s apprenticeship database. In some instances these are candidates who require practical application of their theoretical training, or who are unemployed job seekers currently registered on the job seeker database. Five more EPWP employees have been appointed to assist with the administration of the project.

‘This is a great project because apart from the all-important job creation aspect, it will help the City build relationships with FET colleges and other tertiary institutions going forward. It will also help to address the desperate need for practical, on-the-job training for graduates who often struggle to find work because they do not have the practical skills to back up their academic qualifications,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Social Development and Early Childhood Development, Councillor Suzette Little.

The total estimated cost of the project for the 18-month period is just under R8,9 million. Candidates will be trained in first-aid (Level 1), health and safety awareness, and the use of various hand- and power-tools.

They will be subject to quarterly assessments to measure performance and commitment to the project, determine any remedial action necessary to assist them, and confirm if they are ready to be rotated to the next section within the branch.

‘I am so excited about this project because it means that we are able to increase productivity and efficiency by partnering EPWP workers and our apprentices with qualified artisans. It also opens up new avenues of recruitment for the Utility Services Directorate. We often hear about the dire shortage of artisans in South Africa and the potential to curtail growth and development as a result, so this opportunity is one that we are seizing with both hands. If this pilot project works in the manner envisaged, there is no reason why many of these candidates can’t one day be in the running for vacancies that may become available and help make a tangible difference in the lives of our residents,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Alderman Ernest Sonnenberg.

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