Youth Employment at the Top of the National Agenda
It is significant that President Ramaphosa has placed youth employment at the top of the national agenda and is matching words with actions in the form of incentives and support for initiatives like the Youth Employment Service (YES).
YES is a business-led collaboration with government and labour that emerged out of the CEO Pledge in late 2015 and is the most ambitious youth employment project in South African history.
A solution to youth unemployment will require exactly this kind of close communication, planning and collaboration between employers (the “demand-side” of the equation), and government, which supports over 2 million youth in the public post-school education and training system (the “supply-side”).
Failures to accurately link supply and demand in the past have been one of many causes underlying youth unemployment, as employers experience a gap between the kind of education and training provided to young people and the actual skills needs of the workplace.
Specialised “demand-driven training” providers, such as Harambee, the EOH Youth Job Creation Initiative, the Impact Sourcing Academy, CareerBox, Mentec Foundation and others have had breakthroughs in improving the work readiness of youth, through specialised interventions linked directly to identified job openings with employers. However these initiatives have largely fallen outside of the formal education and training system, and have been funded by philanthropic organisations, Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment initiatives, corporate social responsibility programmes and human capital development budgets.
Enter The WorkFit Campaign.
WorkFit was conceived of by a philanthropic organisation, the Rockefeller Foundation, as a response to research showing that youth employment efforts could not scale significantly to the required level of impact without the support of public education and training institutions – especially the public Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and university institutions where the bulk of South Africa’s youth are prepared for citizenship and productive employment or self-employment.
Launched in October 2017, WorkFit is now in the eighth month of operation and will be increasingly visible as the design and planning aspects of its work reach a public stage of fulfillment. Please browse our website for more background on our work and join the campaign to receive your free download of the WorkFit Toolkit, a resource to support colleges and universities to build stronger youth work readiness into their institutions.
For more information and to stay up to date with our activities, please follow our LinkedIn page for updates to support WorkFit TVET colleges and universities.