South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world at 32.9%
In May 2023 Statistics SA pegged the unemployment rate for those people between the ages of 15 and 24 years at 62.1%. This was an increase from 61% in the previous month.
Through its Grower Development Account (GDA) SA Canegrowers has committed substantial funding for training and development aimed at providing access to skills development for grower communities in the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga where sugarcane is grown.
The GDA funding is ring fenced for small-scale growers and their children and provides training programmes hosted by the industry’s Shukela Training Centre.
At the start of each financial year, SA Canegrowers’ regional staff ask their grower community what training courses they would like for the year ahead.
In KwaZulu-Natal’s Glendale region, the growers requested arc welding and gas cutting on their skills needs list for the year.
Nothando Buthelezi who is the SA Canegrowers Senior Agriculture Business Advisor for the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal said the growers chose arc welding as one of the courses they needed due to the high unemployment rate among young people in the area. “Having this training will help the youth from Glendale to gain arc welding and gas cutting skills. This then helps them find jobs and and they can use the skills they have learned on their own small farms.”
South Africa’s sugar industry supports about 20 000 small-scale growers.
Young people from the Glendale sugarcane growing area learn arc welding and gas cutting at the Shukela Training Centre at Mtunzini in KwaZulu-Natal