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MANY young people in Joburg are struggling to find a job. To help create employment opportunities for them, the City and various organisations are hosting a business expo at Maponya Mall from 4 to 7 June.

Prasa offers learnerships to young peoplePrasa offers learnerships to young peopleThe Youth in Business Expo, in the Maponya Mall food court, focuses on the eradication of youth unemployment.

Organisations taking part include departments from the City of Joburg, Lunakho Production and Staging (a Soweto-based events company), the Health and Welfare Sector Educational Training Authority, the Gauteng Tourism Authority and the Passenger Rail Association of South Africa, among others.

Among those who attended the expo to find out what opportunities are available were Kgotso Molepo and Oupa Sigale, two young friends from Soweto who hope to start their own public relations company.

“It is exciting to see these kinds of expos coming to the township,” said Molepo. “The information we got here will be very helpful,” added Sigale.

City departments taking part include Pikitup, the Joburg Market and Johannesburg City Parks. Acting Manager of the Joburg Market, Mpho Mukwevho, said the market has 316 young people working in various areas. Its contribution to youth employment is getting young people involved in agriculture and making them aware of the opportunities in the industry.

“This is in line with a youth programme that the Joburg Market is launching on 22 June that is titled ‘Opportunities in our lifetime’,” said Mukwevho. “This programme is about the future of agriculture in Johannesburg.”

Pikitup plans to be “hands on” with the youth this month. Zisebenzele Gininda, of Pikitup’s separation-from-source project, said: “We are looking at formalising [local clean-up] groups that deal with youth projects and also partnering with youth organisations in order to mobilise more community based clean-ups.” Pikitup also encourages young people to create art, using waste – an excellent way to make money.

The City’s department of health and social development, which has a stand at the expo, is on an on-going path of youth development, organising activities like sewing and jewellery making, which help participants make a little money. In addition, they hold health workshops that keep the young people busy and educate them about their health.

Johannesburg City Parks hosted a youth camp for 140 Johannesburg youngsters from 4 to 6 June at the Suikerbos Rand Nature Reserve as part of World Environment Month activities. The summit encouraged youth to become active environment agents in their communities.

Also during June Prasa will assist the National Youth Development Agency in running a youth train, which will travel to all nine provinces with the aim of reaching young people in rural areas and finding out about their transport needs.

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