Applications for the Youth LaunchPad project, which places interns in SMMEs in the creative industry to help build small businesses and upskill participants, have opened. The Craft and Design Institute (CDI) is calling on SMMEs to submit their applications for the programme and the deadline is 30 May. The initiative is set to provide 200 matriculants and graduates with internship opportunities in the creative industry.
According to the CDI, the programme supports work readiness, and on-the-job and skills development training, as well as helps business owners develop the systems and HR capacity to manage staff. “The CDI is scaling the programme up in 2022 through funding we have received through the National Pathway Management Network Innovation Fund, a component of the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention’s National Pathway Management Network, a network of networks aimed at facilitating the successful transition of young people into and through the labour market,” the CDI said.
The Employment and Labour Department is responsible for the National Pathway Management Network, and the National Treasury’s Job Fund is the appointed fund manager, while the City of Cape Town is a matched funder. The CDI said the focus would be on all creative industries throughout the country and would include craft and design businesses. It said the aim of the project was for the intern to be absorbed into the business after successfully completing the internship. However, this was not a requirement.
“This internship allows youth to work in a small business for nine months so that they are able to gain work experience and understand how businesses are run,” the CDI said. CDI CEO Erica Elk said that the Youth LaunchPad helped businesses manage some of the initial financial risks. And while providing the enterprise with support to get their human resource management systems in place, it also ensured valuable work experience for local youth. “We understand that small business owners can benefit from the additional capacity to support their business goals, but it can be a daunting step to take to employ new staff,” Elk said.
“In 100% of the cases in our pilot project, the participating youth were able to launch themselves on their career trajectory – whether they are absorbed into the SMME, found another job they were better suited to, started their own businesses or decided to go study. “In turn, the majority of businesses found themselves in a stronger position to increase their business capacity and manage staff,” she said. Najwah Allie-Edries, head of the Jobs Fund, said that the project was consistent with the core aims of the National Pathway Management Network, which was to create a pathway for unemployed young people to gain sustainable opportunities while benefiting small businesses in their efforts to contribute to the broader economy.
“With youth accounting for about 60% of South Africa’s unemployed, partnerships such as these are essential if we are to respond effectively to the youth unemployment crisis,” Allie-Edries said.