Searching for scalable solutions to youth employment

South Africa’s young people have the potential to be the country’s greatest asset

Our young people are dynamic and energetic. They are generally open to new ideas and innovative ways of doing things. This is the kind of mind-set the country urgently needs to enable more young people to find employment. Policies, programmes and projects must be bold and must seek to generate innovative and scalable solutions to the crisis facing millions of young people without a job in SA today.

Bambisanani is a two-year programme run by CDE that aims to change the conversation on youth unemployment.

Our message is clear: everyone in South Africa will benefit from having as many young people as possible in employment. Increased employment has many benefits: a chance to learn on the job and develop valuable skills, earn money and dignity, and contribute to the wellbeing of one’s family and the community at large. And getting more young people into work now will increase the country’s growth potential and our ability to combat multi-generational poverty and inequality.

Quotes from people we’ve met


 
  • We need to educate people that starting at the bottom and working your way up is not a bad thing.

  • If we want to do mass employment of youth we have to go the mass manufacturing route.

  • We need to go into problem-solving mode rather than keep on living with the youth unemployment problem. Fixing the problem creates jobs.

  • If we want to fix something, we need to ask does the municipality have a clear vision and do they have the right people to make sure that that vision is implemented successfully?

  • Young people understand the importance of education and work readiness, but they don’t act on it. We need to incentivise them to making better choices and act upon it.

  • We need to start thinking about not creating jobs but creating job creators.

  • We work with the corporates because we feel that there is a need for them to play an active role in assisting this area of development and township revitalisation in general.

  • Each mayor should say: I’m going to make sure that I’m doing all I can as the mayor to improve the education outcomes in my town even though it’s the responsibility of the Department of Education.



Based on CDE research by national and international experts, engagements with the public and private sector in the areas worst affected, and our previous work, CDE has produced some important policy-focused insights and recommendations that, if implemented, could significantly improve the environment in which young people look for work and prepare themselves for the labour market. What we have learned are shared in a number of products and resources here:


Engagement timeline


Emfuleni

More on the Engagements.

Emalahleni

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City of Johannesburg

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Ethekwini

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Buffalo City

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Nelson Mandela Bay

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Msunduzi

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Polokwane

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Makhado

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Rustenburg

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Thulamela

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Mangaung

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Cape Town

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Matjhabeng

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Madibeng

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Ekuhruleni

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City of Tshwane

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Mbombela

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Tubatse

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Bushbuckridge

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networks

The Centre for Development and Enterprise

networks

This project is funded by the European Union