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CDI’s Youth LaunchPad programme opens up new work opportunities for 122 youth 

Tuesday, 17 December 2019  
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The CDI this year launched a youth work-experience programme, the CDI Youth LaunchPad, which places work-trainees in craft and design SMMEs in support of capacity building. For the pilot, which ran from 02 June to 30 November 2019, 20 businesses created 35 work-opportunities for unemployed youth. The CDI is scaling the programme and moving forward into phase two with more companies.

The CDI Youth LaunchPad programme places unemployed matriculants and graduates in SMMEs; it supports work readiness, on-the job and skills development training; as well as supports business owners to develop the systems and HR capacity to manage staff. The programme is supported by the City of Cape Town’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

“We understand that small business owners can benefit from additional capacity to support their business goals, but it can be a daunting step to take to employ staff. The CDI Youth LaunchPad is managing the financial risk at no cost while providing valuable work experience to local youth. The pilot has been immensely valuable for the participating businesses and the youth involved, as well as for the CDI as we have received important feedback,  a lot which we can now put into practice in the developments of the second phase,” says the Project Manager, Leone Hermans-Blackburn.

“Some businesses on the pilot have requested extending their trainee placements for an additional three months with measured financial assistance. The goal is to accelerate capacity building and transition the trainee to employee. We are finalising the terms with nine of the pilot companies to extend with 13 of the trainees.”


In October, the CDI hosted business owners for a Leadership Skills and Coaching workshop. As businesses experience capacity building and the integration of new staff, there is a need for developing organisational leadership and coaching abilities. In general, people management and coaching are new “roles” for the creative business owners. The workshop included identifying leadership styles and adapting a situational leadership approach to coach; learning a structured framework to conduct a coaching session and understanding “Motivational Hungers” – what motivates one as a business owner and in-turn what motivates the trainee and employee.

In November, a The Success Principles: self-development workshop was delivered to the work trainees – the purpose of this workshop was to empower participants with the knowledge that they create their own life experiences; to share with them practical and measurable tools, a “road map” that can be utilised on a daily basis to ascertain where they are, in relation to where they want to be. A total of 22 trainees were in attendance and the feedback affirmed changes in mindset in terms of self-awareness, the need to visualise and focus one’s goals, and realising that these goals are within reach.  

Phase 2 sees many more companies in the pipeline for placements

The CDI launched Phase 2 in mid-September 2019. As per the first intake on the pilot, the process started with a two-day HR Building Blocks for Capacity Development workshop with 40 businesses participating. Based on the (pilot) programme feedback the workshop content was modified, focusing on recruitment, developing the capability of the business to retain trainees and improving staff management. The workshop stayed focused on taking the HR lifecycle approach, providing businesses with the foundation to build good business practices and labour compliance.


The CDI thereafter received 36 business applications for a total of 73 trainee requests. Following the due diligence and site visits, the CDI has shortlisted 29 businesses into the programme to create new job opportunities for up to 49 trainees. 

The commencement of trainee placements on the second phase is December 2019 and concludes at the end of May 2020.


At the end of November the CDI also facilitated the placement of an additional 38 youth in a further 11 businesses thanks to the YES programme. More to follow in 2020 on this additional cohort.


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