Government is looking at redesigning some of the programmes and projects offered through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) to provide participants with skills required by a digitised new world of work.
This emerged from the Zoom Webinar session held between the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The webinar, hosted under the theme ‘Reskilling and Enterprise Development for PEPs in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond’, was aimed at finding ways to drive employment and tackle poverty through the EPWP post COVID-19.
Liesel Eksteen, a Development Economist Consultant who was one of the keynote speakers at the webinar, said the EPWP should look at utilising both human and artificial intelligence (IA) in order to drive the development and upliftment of the nation in the post COVID-19 world.
Eksteen said for the EPWP to increase employment opportunities for South Africans post COVID-19, government must look at providing participants with a combination of skills set, such as emotional intelligence, use of technology in performing tasks and even advanced cognitive skills in preparing for the new digitised world of work.
Another key speaker at the webinar, Lungisani Dladla – a senior official at DPWI – said for EPWP to continue to deliver on its mandate of tackling poverty through the creation of economic opportunities for the poor and unemployed, government will have to look at utilising the Programme (EPWP) to drive township entrepreneurship.
He said government will have to provide development finance and support to small businesses in townships in order to create the must needed economic opportunities and jobs for the poor