Friday, March 24, 2023

Will ESP end the job creation illusion?

National Internship Programme ÔÇô P1400

The Minister responsible for Youth, Thapelo Olopeng this week told parliament that as at the end of October 2015, a total of 5,281 Batswana graduates had been enrolled under the National Internship program while 6,770 others were waiting for their turn.

Still on Friday Olopeng told parliament that at least 1,394 graduates who were enrolled under this programme during the 2014/15 financial year have since been absorbed into permanent employment.  For the 2015/16 financial year, Olopeng pegged the number at 337, noting that he did not have figures for 2012 and 2013 as, “My ministry started tracking employment of interns during financial year 2014/15 when the department was transferred to the ministry.”

Participants in the internship program are the only ones who earn more than the prescribed national minimum wage. However, their allowance was cut from P2, 000 to P1, 400 in the 2013/14 financial year. The programme started in August 2008 and was targeted at unemployed graduates. It was no different from the other two as it also sought to develop and transfer skills, facilitate youth employability and seamless integration of graduates into the economy. Through the Internship Program, graduates will be accorded an opportunity to gain work-based skills while they explore other employment avenues. In April last year, Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Edwin Batshu said since inception, the Internship Program has absorbed about 8,758 unemployed tertiary education graduates in all sectors of the economy


Graduate Volunteer Scheme ÔÇô P600

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Louis Malikongwa said in an interview earlier this year that the new scheme is meant to facilitate skills transfer to young graduates. Under this new scheme, which started in mid-April 2015, unemployed graduates with degree qualifications will receive a meal allowance of P600 and a possible promotion into the National Internship Programme. According to government officials, the ‘Graduate Volunteer Scheme’ is intended to attach young graduates in organisations that have opportunities for volunteer work.

“The participants will not only contribute to community development, but they will also gain experience and improve their employment readiness through on the job training. Though they will generally be enrolled where they have accommodation, it’s possible for participants to stay with host families, particularly in rural areas,” said Malikongwa then. The scheme does not cater for those who are already enrolled in other schemes such as National Internship and Tirelo Sechaba.

Tirelo Sechaba ÔÇô P500

The national service programme, Tirelo Sechaba commenced in April 1, 2014 with an initial 15, 000 participants attached to various government departments across the country. The programme was estimated to cost P178 million in the 2014/15 financial year, covering human and other resources. Participants’ allowances have been set at P500 per month, with P200 set aside on a savings account. At the time, government said Tirelo Sechaba, together with the Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) were initiated as a response to the problem of unemployment. The programmes, said the then youth Minister Shaw Kgathi, will interface behaviour change, youth empowerment, poverty eradication and skills development. Tirelo Sechaba participants are mainly Junior Certificate holders and graduates from Vocational Training Centres and Brigades. 


Read this week's paper