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By Zanele Mbengo

Digital Journalist


Skills development is a lifeline for youth

Against a backdrop of soaring unemployment in South Africa, Chieta is leading initiatives to empower youth with skills development programs.


Against the backdrop of South Africa’s unemployment rate which, according to Statistics SA, is expected to trend around 34% in 2024, the need for using skills development opportunities is key to changing the narrative. Not all matrcis will find place at universities Yershen Pillay, chief executive officer of the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (Chieta), believes not all matriculants will find a place at SA’s 26 universities. “It’s time for matriculants to consider the options that provide a lifeline to the future underpinned by job creation and entrepreneurship,” he said. Chieta is the Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta)…

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Against the backdrop of South Africa’s unemployment rate which, according to Statistics SA, is expected to trend around 34% in 2024, the need for using skills development opportunities is key to changing the narrative.

Not all matrcis will find place at universities

Yershen Pillay, chief executive officer of the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (Chieta), believes not all matriculants will find a place at SA’s 26 universities.

“It’s time for matriculants to consider the options that provide a lifeline to the future underpinned by job creation and entrepreneurship,” he said.

Chieta is the Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta) for the chemical industries in SA. Part of its mandate is to provide skills development programmes like bursaries and internships.

Liyabona Ncanywa from the Eastern Cape was part of the Chieta-funded excellence in mathematics and science programme.

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Seven distinctions and top achiever

She achieved seven distinctions and made it onto the top achievers list for the matric class of 2023.

“I believe Chieta’s funding has positively impacted our school because our pass rate increased from 2022 to 2023, which shows that the intervention of the program helped learners to improve their performance,” she said.

Celeste Heynes, a PR consultant hired by CHIETA, told The Citizen the Seta “is a training and education authority which covers Stem subjects [science, technology, engineering, maths], they support those who want to get into the chemical industry”.

“Bursaries are awarded to those pursuing qualifications that will lead to careers in the chemical sector. We mostly try to support women and children and those living with disabilities.

“Chieta unveiled its first smart skills centre in Saldanha Bay with the aim of bridging the digital skills divide and accelerating the development of basic digital skills among rural youth,” she said.

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Taught digital skills

Pillay said rural pupils were taught digital skills to help them keep abreast of artificial intelligence developments.

He believed that opportunities for further studies at technical and vocational education training (TVet) colleges were key to building the skills pipeline.

“Pupils through companies are also given extensive opportunities to learn skills that will gear them for a better future,” he said.

“Through various programmes such as the upcoming discretionary grant funding windows, working with corporates provides potential opportunities for 615 internships, 1 085 learnerships, 1 395 skills programmes, 1 285 TVET students for Working in Learning and 1 000 learners also receive Stem training,” he said.

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