SANDF ramping up youth training


Two thousand young men and women are to get an opportunity to undergo training by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) as a further pilot of its national youth service scheme mooted by Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu in her budget vote last year.

They will be joining 500 youth selected by the Department of Rural Development who graduated last month. Sisulu this morning stressed that the programme was non-partisan, and it was meant to instill a love for the country in its future leaders. Critical elements attached to the programme included building youth character, with a focus on leadership, discipline and team work, the state BuaNews agency said.

Sisulu said the programme “must address the shortage of critical skills” and should pay attention to leadership, business and entrepreneurial skills “to navigate the stormy waters of the knowledge economy.” The SANDF, however, indicated that it was only an implementing agent, with the youth being drawn from various interested departments. It also said that the training of the youth was also being paid by those departments.

The minister did not say what the programme would cost, adding the funds were provided by the sponsoring departments and the SANDF was just the “service provider” of the training. She noted the 2000 new recruits would come from the departments including rural development, health and agriculture. Talks were also in process with the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government.
“At the end of the programme, recruits will be deployed in various working environments in government, the private sector and enterprise incubation ventures in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders,” said Sisulu. She said that through the Military Skills Development System (MSDS, pictured), they had since trained over 27 000 young people, imparting to them necessary skills they “desperately needed. The MSDS and the national youth service is our contribution to addressing skills shortages in the country and facilitate job creation.
“The idyllic future that we need to construct depends on what we do today. But this future will only be realised once we address another reality affecting the youth of our country, namely, poverty, unemployment and almost no foreseeable prospect of gainful economic participation.”