The article examines the family life and living circumstances of EPWP participants
who are based at TLF, their spending drivers, their survival strategies including
understanding the social protection measures used by participants and how
participants are able to navigate their everyday social experiences in relation
to the EPWP. One of the greatest challenges faced by South Africa is the rising
youth unemployment and lack of skills development for these young people.
In order to address both the problem of low skills level and the rising unemployment
level, the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) can be used as a
starting point. The EPWP is aimed at reducing unemployment and contributing
to ending the skills deficit, and in turn improving development in South Africa.
Some scholars argue that even though there are disparities between the popular
perception of the EPWP and the actual outcomes, the programme arguably
has the potential to offer some response to the unemployment and skills
shortage crisis in South Africa. The imminent need to provide for themselves,
their dependents and family tends to be on par with learning and developing
skill sets that can be beneficial when seeking employment that guarantees survival.
Even trainees who had no dependents and solely used the income on
themselves, and those coming from middle-income households that are able to
provide security, saw the Programme as an opportunity to gain income which
they can utilise for personal care and advancement. This article explores the
survival strategies and social and economic embeddedness of EPWP trainees,
based at Tshwane Leadership Foundation, and how they inform their participation
in the Programme. Added to this, there are critical socio-economic nuances that need to be unpacked in order to get an understanding of the
EPWP‘s ability to alter the labour market performance and entry into the labour
market of trainees’. The article utilised a qualitative research approach.
Data was collected from the 30 EPWP previous trainees through interview technique.
The article closes with some recommendations for the EPWP in the future.