Government is considering a new design for some of the programmes and projects the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) offers to give participants the opportunity to gain the necessary skills to thrive in a digital world of work.
This came up during the Zoom Webinar session held between the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) held on the 22nd of September.
The webinar, themed ‘Reskilling and Enterprise Development for PEPs in the Era of Covid-19 and Beyond’, was looking at finding new and innovative ways to create jobs and fight poverty through the EPWP post-Covid-19.
Liesel Eksteen, a Development Economist Consultant who was one of the keynote speakers at the webinar, said that the EPWP should look into using both human and artificial intelligence (IA) to help develop and uplift of the nation after the pandemic has been brought under control with a vaccine.
Eksteen added that for the EPWP to generate more employment opportunities for South Africans, the government will need to look at helping participants build the necessary skills set which include developing their emotional intelligence, teaching participants how to use technology to complete tasks and even more advanced cognitive skills such as how to prepare for the new digitised world of work.
Lungisani Dladla - a senior official at DPWI and Another key speaker at the webinar said that for EPWP to keep delivering on its promise of tackling poverty through the creation of economic opportunities for the poor and unemployed, the government will need to look at making use of the Programme (EPWP) to drive township entrepreneurship.
He finished by saying that the government will have to provide development finance and support to small businesses in townships to help create desperately needed economic opportunities and jobs for the poor.