Key Points:

  • Youth unemployment is a national crisis. How does it affect young people and how do they cope?
  • This publication looks at the scale of the challenge, the difficulties young people face in finding work, the poor strategies many adopt, and the reasons why some young people may turn down employment that they feel is too badly paid or too insecure.
  • Given the scale of the challenge, we need a cabinet-level focus on addressing youth unemployment.
  • In addition, accountable youth organisations should promote experimental ways of providing young people with mentoring, training opportunities, linkages to the labour market and useful work experience.
  • Youth policy discussions in South Africa are mostly informed by awareness of extremely high rates of youth unemployment, and by emotionally-charged concerns that ‘youth dissatisfaction’ is a ‘time bomb’ waiting to explode.
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