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STATEMENT BY ALDERMAN JAMES VOS, MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH

As South Africa marks Workers’ Day, we must be reminded of our commitment to creating the foundations of prosperity for those who build our economy and country. This means acknowledging the mountainous challenge of unemployment. Read more below:

For me, this commitment takes shape through the City’s Workforce Development programmes alongside the rollout of initiatives that give businesses the scope to grow.

The Jobs Connect platform, for example, is where the City is helping job seekers source knowledge, training and employment opportunities while linking businesses with the appropriate individuals that will help them expand their operations.

As of April, more than 42 000 Capetonians have been registered and assessed on the platform, nearly 6 000 have completed work readiness training, 1 000 placed in learnerships, and 1 000 in jobs.

Helping to grow Cape Town’s call centre industry

Then there is the Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator Project funded primarily by the City and the National Skills Fund, which aims to facilitate over 3 000 jobs in three years, by providing training and workplace experience in high growth industries for previously unemployed South African youth and women.

To date, 1 400 unemployed and previously disadvantaged individuals have been trained for call centres and every single one of them has been offered permanent employment upon successful completion of their training.  This is against a target of 1 100 people, meaning that the project has over-delivered by almost 30%.

Through City programmes such as these, Cape Town has helped South Africa rise to the top of international rankings in the call centre industry. In total, the Cape Town sector created almost 5 500 international jobs in 2021, bringing the overall jobs servicing global clients to over 42 000. Together with domestic-facing clients, more than 69 000 people now work in the sector in Cape Town.

Linking local exporters with global buyers

Alongside these ongoing initiatives, our work continues in bringing global attention to local brands. A few weeks back, Wesgro, the trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the province, launched The Cape Trade Portal.

The platform is a digital marketplace for Cape-based exporters that connects them directly with buyers and additionally serves as a dedicated centre of skills development resources. Through the portal, exporters can tap into training and mentoring programmes, keep updated on upcoming trade exhibitions, get support with non-tariff export barriers as well as assistance with regulatory and compliance requirements.

This allows for more exports of goods made in the Mother City, which means increased production, more jobs and a stronger economy.

The crisis of unemployment stalks our country, its talons piercing families and communities and creating fissures of further social pain. But hope is not lost.

These programmes are merely highlights of my Directorate’s dogged efforts to make the unemployment queue shorter. The recently tabled budget for Economic Growth will help us to expand further on these projects and bring the dignity of employment to more Capetonians.

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