The key function for KZN Youth Economic Empowerment Programme is to co-ordinate and facilitates implementation of Youth Economic Empowerment initiatives in the Province. This is based on the KZN vision to have an economically emancipated, capacitated, and responsible youth who actively participates in the mainstream economy and becomes the cornerstone upon which the Province builds a more prosperous and more inclusive economy.  This vision can be attained through multifaceted approach of initiating and leveraging resources, introducing systems, and creating strategic partnerships across all sectors of KZN economy. There are five guidelines for youth economic empowerment in the Province:

         i. The responsibility of youth economic empowerment should be a shared obligation amongst all stakeholders and implementing agents to ensure strong coordination and cooperation for the success.

        ii. A participatory and collaborative approach is compulsory to ensure youth development and participation in policy formulation and instilling citizenship amongst youths.

       iii. Youth must have improved access to economic information to ensure their development and for them to contribute positively to the country’s economic and social development.

        iv. Youth must be the targeted group in all public and private interventions focused on economic development and empowerment.

         v. There is a need to improve accountability within the South African Government and its agencies through monitoring systems,recording and reporting progress on youth economic empowerment.

(a) Goal

The KZN Youth Economic Empowerment strategic goal is to inculcate an entrepreneurship culture among youth and develop viable and sustainable enterprises in Kwazulu-Natal. To enhance employment opportunities for the youth, facilitate skills acquisition linked to employment and entrepreneurship activity through training and education. To improve access to information and capacity to interpret information, and to develop formidable institutions that promote sustainable youth economic development in the Province.

(b) Objectives

The broad strategic objectives for Youth Economic Empowerment are:  

To facilitate increased access to capital for youth enterprise.
To develop viable and sustainable youth enterprises.
To develop entrepreneurship and business leadership ability
To develop sector specific youth enterprises
To provide youth with work experience opportunities
To facilitate easier entry for the youth into the labour market
To identify and develop school programmes that enhances employment opportunities for youth
To enhance access to skills development and training for unemployed secondary school leavers and matriculates
To strengthen capacity of existing institutions to support youth economic empowerment.

 Key Pillars for Youth Economic Empowerment in the Province:

Youth Enterprise Development
Youth Employment Programme
Youth Skills Development and Training
 Information Dissemination
Institutional Development


Some of the flagships projects that the Department has implemented over the years in line with the above pillars; which the youth of this province must know are as follows:


KZN Youth Short Skills Training & Placement is one of the skills development initiative that is employment focused; meaning it addresses both the training pillar as well as the employment pillar above. It is mainly targeting matriculants and below. On a yearly basis the youth is given various skills, which are mostly technical in nature. In the past five years the programme has focused on trades like Basic Air-conditioning, electricity, construction, spray painting and panel beating, solar technicians, landscaping, agriculture, welding, security and waterless car wash to mention a few. All the trained youth through this programme are placed on Employment. Over 12 600 young people have been trained on this programme between 2008 and 2017 and achieved 90% of employment placement results. It presents an ideal opportunity for many secondary or high school graduates who would have otherwise not have been able to acquire a specific skill due to a number of challenges. Let alone getting a job.

The training courses offered in this programme are an entry level skills development interventions ranging from NQF level 1 to NQF level 4 in different courses, thereby allowing trainees to continue studying after they have been placed on the job. The Department seeks to partner with other private or public stakeholders through training funding provision and job placement to expand the impact of this project.

KZN Unemployed Graduates Assistance Programme: This is also a skills development initiative, which is also employment focused. The Difference here is the target youth. This programme targets unemployed graduates, mainly the unemployed youth with a three year and above qualification. All unemployed graduates in the province have a chance of registering their details in the provincial database so as to be able to get assistance. The online database is accessible on The Department together with its partners uses this database to assist the unemployed graduates. Assistance offered rages from soft skills training aimed at preparing the unemployed graduates for employment and making sure they have the right soft skill required by the industry. Direct job referrals are also done on requests that the department receives from various potential employers. Currently the database has over 30 000 registered unemployed graduates an minimum of 1000 graduates are assisted through training; job placement or business opportunities on a yearly basis.


The Department has over the years implemented a number of sector focused interventions prioritising the provincial and Departmental strategic sector for Youth business involvement.

Some of the interventions include Youth in manufacturing; Youth in Agriculture & Agro-processing; Youth in ICT; Youth in Creative Industry; Youth in Maritime and Youth in Tourism.

In all of the above sectors that have had specific Youth interventions a number of Youth businesses have benefited through the Departmental support. This support ranges from overall business support and funding of specific business resources to enable Youth participation in this sector. Some of these interventions are driven direct by the Youth unit while others are driven by other Directorates in the Department but facilitated through the Youth Directorate.


A number of information dissemination tools are used by the Departmental Youth unit to ensure Youth access information on businesses or employment opportunities. These tools ranges from flagship Departmental Youth Entrepreneurship & Careers Expos held at the Municipalities on a yearly basis. There are also electronical and print mechanisms used by the Department ranging from specific Youth Economic empowerment portals as well as printed booklets and pamphlet; i.e. the unemployed grad portal, the KZN Youthbiz portal ( and many other partner portals that disseminate information to the Youth as well as printed booklets like the Departmental Career Guidance Booklet.


As stated in the opening the mandate of the youth function of the department is to ensure youth economic participation, all departmental programmes and projects are aimed at such. Of course youth still benefits on other initiatives by different units of the department as well as other stakeholders outside the department. Our initiatives are to ensure that as the province we do have specific focus on youth economic emancipation. The Youth may also benefit like all other citizen in various developmental initiatives other than the targeted interventions.

Youth is just but one of many priority population groups in the province and the country, specific programmes targeting them are by no means aimed at separating them from the entire society but are aimed at just giving them an added boost to ensure that we deal with various society ills in our country.