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The City of Cape Town has embarked on an outcomes-based workforce development programme to improve residents’ access to employment opportunities. The three-year programme held in collaboration with Lulaway Holdings aims to reduce the number of discouraged work seekers by identifying, preparing and placing them in education, training and ultimately securing permanent work opportunities for the programme participants.

With a focus on youth and those residing in high-density and traditionally marginalised areas, the programme aims to assess 30 000 unemployed residents, provide work-readiness skills training to 6 000 programme participants and subsequently to place 4 050 candidates in various employment opportunities. This will be achieved through industry partnerships which will ensure that training is directly linked to employers’ talent needs.

The announcement comes as a beacon of hope to a city where the general unemployment rate sits at 21.7% and the youth unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 52%.Despite Cape Town’s unemployment statistics being better than other cities in South Africa, they are still unacceptably high. The City hopes that this initiative will support the unemployed by not only preparing them for possible education or employment opportunities but also linking them directly to opportunities and hopefully helping them to secure well paid jobs in growing economic sectors. This speaks directly to our IDP strategic focus for Cape Town to be an economically inclusive Opportunity City.

Lulaway Holdings, a social enterprise which specialises in the screening, training and job placement of the unemployed, has been appointed to implement the three-year programme.

‘The employment services landscape is currently complex; there are many service providers but no coordinated system. This makes it difficult for both employers and jobseekers to find and access the services and support they need, at the right place and right time. Through this programme, we want to coordinate actions in order to increase efficiencies and effectiveness of services for both employers and jobseekers. The programme will set up strong delivery models which overcome the spatial and support service accessibility faced by residents in Cape Town,’ said Lulaway CEO, Jake Willis.

The City will engage businesses to identify ways in which the workforce needs can be supported by developing initiatives such as integrated employment plans where required.

‘It is becoming harder for individuals to enter the labour market, notably newcomers, youth and recent graduates, because they do not command market-related recruitment costs. We want services to be responsive to changing labour markets and they must also support people who face the greatest challenges to getting and retaining work. We are seeking to more effectively assist employers to address their workforce challenges, while setting out more active ways of helping jobseekers increase their potential to compete in the labour force.

‘We have committed to opening 20 Lulaway job centres or digital kiosks in high-density areas across Cape Town. We will be working with local partners that will incorporate Lulaway job centres into their existing service offerings,’ added Willis.

The first component of the programme entails job seekers going to the job centres and registering their profiles on the City of Cape Town job seeker database that is hosted on the Lulaway portal. Job seeker profiles will be instantly accessible to both corporates and SMMEs looking for staff.

The second component is work readiness training. Suitable applicants will be shortlisted for job openings and offered work readiness skills training to increase their chances of retaining their jobs. This kind of training is critical to optimise the chances of unemployed people succeeding in the workplace.

The world-class curriculum covers workplace expectations, conduct, communication, customer service, and personal financial management.

The third and final component is facilitating placements within the private sector.

The most definitive facet of the programme is its commitment to a rigid outcomes-based monitoring and evaluation process. Rigorous data capturing and monitoring at every stage means the City can ensure that quantifiable results are achieved.

This is an ideal opportunity for the public and private sector, job seekers and government to work together towards reducing high levels of unemployment. We can only make progress and really assist those who are unemployed if we work together.

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