IT skills boost for municipalities

Johannesburg, 21 Apr 2011
Read time 2min 00sec

Eleven Free State municipalities are the first to benefit from the public-private partnership programme to teach IT skills and create jobs for unemployed youths.

Municipalities in the Eastern and Western Cape will follow these 11.

This internship programme gives unemployed youth a chance to learn IT and work for the local government municipalities for a year.

The initiative is made possible by the partnership between the SA Post Office, Microsoft SA, Development Bank of SA (DBSA), Local Government Sector Education Training Authority, and the SA Local Government Association (SALGA).

According to Post Office CEO Motshoanetsi Lefoka, who spoke at the launch of the partnership programme in Johannesburg this week, this 'student-to-government' programme will see local government councils take in students to give them experience to be ready for the job market.

“These students will be trained in Microsoft advanced skills for three months, then they will gain practical skills by working at the municipal council.”

This programme will see unemployed graduates gain technology skills that are much needed in the municipalities, Lefoka said. Smaller municipalities have always had the challenge of retaining skills, and this programme will help to overcome this problem, she pointed out.

Lefoka said this programme will help reduce unemployment, especially in the rural settlements, and it will also help with service delivery in these municipalities.

Deputy chairman of SALGA Sophie Molokonane-Michika agreed that ICT is crucial in service delivery, especially in local government.

However, she said municipalities have been experiencing a skills shortage, especially in rural areas. This programme, she said, will help the councils to identify and skill people in their areas.

The new programme falls under the auspices of the broader Municipal Skills Development Programme (Ubunye), run by the DBSA.

It is based on Microsoft's student to business programme that the software giant runs with the ISETT SETA, where unemployed graduates are trained in relevant IT skills to gain experience needed in the job market.

The 11 municipalities are: Metsimaholo, Moqhaka, Matjhabeng, Motheo, Manguang, Naledi, Mantsopa, Maluti-A-Phofung, Letsemeng, Mafube and Nketoana.

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