Saturday, April 20

#YouthDay: Access to land, capital, education and skills will empower youth

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Monedi Lefakane, chairman of the Youth In Property Association (Yipa), writes for us on Youth Day.

“June 16, 1976, represented the first time South Africa’s youth truly understood that in order to be empowered, you must first empower yourself. The youth understood then that they needed to ensure they could access education to create tangible results from future employment and entrepreneurial opportunities that would ultimately lead to their empowerment once the country was liberated.

Forty-two years later, the empowerment of South African youth in the property sector ultimately lies in their ability to access land, capital and, most importantly, education and skills. No opportunity within the property sector can be realised without all three.

The government’s recent focus on land reform, if done correctly, will result in black people, particularly women and youth, accessing more land ownership opportunities. To realise the economic benefit of those opportunities, a strong educational base will be needed to understand the various drivers of property and property development.

Fee-free education has created an opening for young people to begin building that base because it creates access to university degrees like property studies and construction studies, which are offered at Wits University and the University of Cape Town. The private sector has also begun contributing to the improvement of skills among youth.

The recently announced Vukile Development and Training Programme, led by veteran property executive Sedise Moseneke, is a wonderful step forward in the realisation of youth empowerment in property. The programme is focused on providing youth with property ideas with the skills and mentorship support needed to turn their ideas into reality.

A critical element to the success and growth of any sector lies in its ability to be inclusive. The government and private sector are both trying to contribute towards creating opportunities for youth, but ultimately youth must be responsible and grab them.

The shortage in numbers of young black people pursuing property as a career has contributed to the poor levels of youth empowerment. This is due mainly to the poor levels of awareness about property as a career and entrepreneurial path, given the apartheid history of our country when black people were limited in their access to property ownership. 

Initiatives such as the Yipa Job Shadow initiative, in partnership with UCT100UP and the Western Cape Property Development Forum, assist in increasing awareness about property-related degrees among disadvantaged youth in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain.

As the 32nd president of the United States, Franklin D Roosevelt, said “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” 
Skills and education are key components to ensuring young people are built to take hold of the future and empower themselves.”

Who is Yipa? 

An organisation managed and driven by youth and aimed at representing, protecting and advancing the interest of these members within the property industry in terms of ownership, management and social development. 

The strategic intent of the organisation is to begin strengthening the participation of youth in property opportunities to grow skilled labour and an entrepreneurial pool for the property industry. Our initiatives are focused on increasing youth participation in property through creating opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship and education in the property sector.

Yipa’s call to estate agents

From an ownership and skills development level, it has taken some big estate agencies too long to implement BEE/ transformation. We’d also like to see more efforts made to assist young black people with subsidised salaries, cars and desks to break into the industry as agents

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