City of Cape Town officials say they view children’s issues as human rights matters and are keen to tackle them head-on.
Launching the first of a series of integrated career expos in Site C, Khayelitsha, on Thursday March 3, the City’s mayoral committee member for social development and early childhood development, Suzette Little, said they had a strong focus on creating opportunities for the youth and exposing them to different career and training opportunities. She said each social development district is responsible for implementing a career expo.
Ms Little said the City believed the careers expos would reduce the number of children dropping out of school and have a positive impact on them.
She said although there is often no access to career guidance at schools, local government would continue to take help to the pupils.
“We want to motivate these children to start thinking about career choices. They must start thinking about their lives and their futures. We always say to them, don’t do drugs, live life like this, but how do we understand what they want to do?
Do we know their interests? Let us bring information and knowledge to them so that we can focus on them,” she said.
Ms Little said the expos formed part of the City’s Transversal Youth Development Strategy which included the provision of economic opportunities to address unemployment among young people. She said another aim is to get young people work-ready,and to broaden their job and career prospects. The focus is on youth leaving school and entering the job market, from the ages of 14 and 25.
She said young people face many challenges and that they should be assisted during difficult times. “We have those who run to drugs because they cannot cope with their situations.
“As the City we have noticed that we have a lot of children dropping out of school and running to the streets. There are social issues that really affect them. But we should at all times equip them. If we are not doing that, we are failing them.
“We are closing that gap between them and parents. We must catch these children as early as possible,” she told Vukani.
The career expos, she said, would provide information on the various employment opportunities and the necessary support and services to youth to achieve their goals. She said there will also be support for those who want to start their own businesses.
Khayelitsha Social Development manager, Sindiswa Ciko, said they want children to start making suitable choices for themselves and that young people should have access to information which would help them make the correct decisions.
“Where there is concern, we will be there. We are happy that schools allowed them to be here with us today. These youngsters should make a difference for themselves. All we want is to give them better opportunities,” she said.
Thembelihle High School pupil Asonele Gxulu said she was contemplating staying at home next year, after she completed matric. But, she said: “The expo has changed my mind. I am going back to school. I have learnt that there are many options that one can consider. Big up to the organisers.”
Thandeka Beka, from Uxolo High School, was happy to learn how to start planning for the future. “I want to do physical chemistry and I know all about it now. I am also aware of preparations for the future. I am glad I attended,” she said.
The City said similar events will be held in all of the social development department’s districts in the coming months.