Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela has called on South Africa’s private sector to create more job opportunities for young people.

He was addressing a conference of the National Planning Commission in Stellenbosch near here Monday to highlight solutions to youth unemployment in the country, It was noted that some young people in the area had battled for years to find jobs.

Unemployed youth Vuyelwa Resha said: “I matriculated in 2013 and last year, I completed a certificate in electrical infrastructure and I still can’t find work. It’s very difficult for me. I even applied at retail stores to get work, but nothing [has happened] yet.”

At the conference, role-players from the government, youth development agencies and the private sector are discussing ways of making the youth work-ready. One of the biggest challenges is that the education system does not always produce what the economy needs.

“There are certain interventions that need to be made to our education and skills development. More young people believe that going to university is the future and we need to encourage more young people to be artisans, apprentices and also go to the colleges to learn specific trades which the economy needs,” explained Manamela.

A recent study identified five priorities for inclusive economic growth which it says will create more than three million jobs by 2030. However, most of these jobs require a specific skills set.

A consultant from McKinsey & Co., Nomanelo Magwentshu, said: “We looked at skills in the manufacturing sector, not low labour skills, but advanced manufacturing skills. We talked about construction at supervisory level; we talked about exporting our service sector skills to the rest of the continent, and we also talked about agriculture processing skills. So, these are not just people that have no matric, but it’s matric plus some technical training that needs to be customised.”

Mentorship and internships for young people are aimed at facilitating work opportunities for the youth.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, are also expected to address the conference.