HEALTH AND WELFARE

1 000 youths to be empowered through healthcare skills development programme

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The opportunity to launch a career in the healthcare sector will be offered to 1 000 South African youths through a five-year commitment from Netcare, one of five flagship companies participating in the Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative recently launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Investing in the youth through enhancing their employability is a direct investment in the future of South Africa, as this is a vehicle for stimulating inclusive economic growth and advancing socio-economic transformation,” says Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare.

“Through collaborative partnerships we can do more to make a meaningful difference in the lives of young people, who in turn will be empowered to contribute to the economy while enriching the local healthcare sector through developing relevant skills.”

In total, Netcare aims to upskill 1 000 young South Africans over a five year period through the following career opportunities: 170 pharmacist assistants, 100 pharmacist stock assistants, 110 human resources interns, 30 in technical and engineering fields, 90 learnerships in various fields for disabled youths, as well as 500 registered nurses.

Dr Nceba Ndzwayiba, general manager, enterprise and supplier development at Netcare, explains that in addition to providing training, Netcare intends to offer employment to those graduates who successfully complete their courses and meet all the necessary job requirements.

“The nursing training intakes will be staggered over a period of three years. In the first two years, 100 youths per year will be registered for the bridging course leading to enrolment as registered nurses. Depending on the outcome of changes in nursing qualifications and accreditation which are currently underway, it is envisaged that approximately 300 opportunities to study for a National Diploma in Nursing will be available in the third year through Netcare Education’s Faculty of Nursing and Ancillary Healthcare, as part of our initiative,” Dr Ndzwayiba notes.

“The training of 500 youths to become professional nurses will make a small but meaningful contribution towards addressing the critical shortage of professional nurses in our country, which is estimated to have doubled over the last eight years, from 40 000 to a projected 80 000.

“We believe that real progress can be made in addressing youth unemployment if the private and public sectors, regulatory bodies, Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges collaborate to provide training, experiential learning and job opportunities to unemployed young South Africans.”

Netcare commenced with the specific youth employment activities in mid-2017, when 61 students from TVET colleges were recruited onto the Basics of Stores and Stock Control (BSSC) programme.

The programme was offered in collaboration with the Health and Welfare SETA (HWSETA), and resulted in 51 young people who successfully completed the BSSC certificate being permanently employed as pharmacy store assistants at various Netcare hospitals around the country.

“These graduates have now been enrolled in a career advancement programme in order to support their entry into the healthcare sector with further career development opportunities,” he explains.

Twenty of these BSSC graduates and Dr Friedland recently attended President Cyril Ramaphosa’s launch of the YES initiative at the Riverside Incubation Hub in Johannesburg. Netcare is one of the five major companies that have so far committed to participating in this national initiative to provide work experience for unemployed youths.

“This year we are providing training for 50 youths as pharmacist assistants, 55 human resources internships, 10 technical and engineering opportunities and 30 Sinako learnerships for young people with disabilities. These opportunities will be mirrored in the second year of Netcare’s initiative. The third year of intake will take us through the five-year duration of the initiative, as a number of the courses run over several years,” Dr Ndzwayiba observes.

Netcare envisages that approximately 80% of the opportunities provided through the initiative will culminate with the successful candidates’ registration or accreditation with relevant councils or professional bodies.

“We have been conscious of the need to ensure that the skills these young people acquire are directly relevant to the needs within the healthcare sector. We have committed to place the successful graduates in positions within Netcare. However, the demand for these specific skill sets will also make them highly marketable within the broader South African healthcare industry.”

According to the YES initiative, youths who have practical work experience, curricula vitae and references, are three times more likely to find employment.

“It is our hope that the theoretical and practical training, as well as the offer of employment on successful completion of the training, will provide brighter and more secure futures for the young people participating in the Netcare initiative,” Dr Ndzwayiba asserts.

Dr Friedland says that this new chapter in Netcare’s skills development strategy is the culmination of private public collaboration, and has gained further momentum through the launch of the YES initiative.

“At the YES initiative launch, President Ramaphosa highlighted the need to ensure a closer match between youth skills and the needs of the economy. With the current shortage of skills in certain fields in the healthcare sector, we are confident that this initiative will assist in addressing the deficits while providing excellent prospects for these candidates, well into the future.

“It is a privilege to be contributing towards the national imperative of stimulating youth employment, and we look forward to seeing more and more young South Africans thrive in the years and decades to come,” Dr Friedland concluded.

Issued by:              MNA on behalf of Netcare

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