The Council for the Built Environment (CBE) joins millions of South Africans in commemorating our young people who lost their lives on 16 June 1976 under the theme “Accelerating youth economic emancipation for a sustainable future”. It is indeed befitting that in 2023, Youth Month is about accelerating socio-economic opportunities for young people, not parading slogans and speeches. This is precisely because young people are unemployed, not fully engaged on matters of the country, and excluded from participating in the mainstream economy.

As the CBE, we know that young people who have chosen to pursue a career in our sector are frustrated by systematic and historical exclusion. It is against this background that we have taken a deliberate decision to prioritise and implement focused interventions targeting youth and persons living with disabilities.  These interventions are not only about access to government tenders, entrepreneurship and business skills but also include programmes aimed at supporting young people to become wholesome citizens through cultivating empowerment and life skills.

To promote youth participation, the CBE is implementing various initiatives aimed at addressing issues of transformation in the Built Environment sector – namely career development, on-the-job training, and mentorship programmes in partnership with stakeholders. These programmes are our contribution to the Presidential Youth Employment Interventions and a CBE response to Minister Zikalala’s call for a collective effort by the sector to tackle challenges facing the young people of our country.

In addition, the CBE will, together with the University of Johannesburg and professional councils, host a Youth Day Roundtable on the 14th of June 2023. This session will provide an opportunity for young people to engage with industry experts and professionals on myriads of issues pertaining to the Built Environment sector, ethics, professional registration, and opportunities available to them. The Roundtable will also promote collaboration, innovation, encourage young people to claim their rightful spaces and be part of the discussions on envisioning the future. These conversations will enable partners to have focused discussions that are aimed at changing the narrative about the future of the Built Environment Professions.

The CBE calls on young people to join us in celebrating Youth Month and to participate in government and private sector-led initiatives that aim to create opportunities for a sustainable future. Together, we can transform the Built Environment sector and our nation, leaving no one behind.