Govt drums up support to curb youth unemployment

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pretoria - With the country celebrating Youth Day next month, Cabinet has urged the South African nation to rally behind government's efforts to find cost effective solutions to deal with the scourge of youth unemployment.

President Jacob Zuma is expected to officiate the Youth Day celebrations on 16 June in the Eastern Cape.

Briefing media on Thursday, Cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said the planned celebrations would be held under the theme, "Together We Can Do More to Build Infrastructure and Fight Youth Unemployment, Poverty and Inequality".

All government departments have been urged by Cabinet to align their communication activities to this theme in bolstering the national day and month, and to support the National Youth Development Agency.

Manyi also announced that the Department of Labour will from 30 May to 15 June participate in the 101st International Labour Organisation Conference, which includes a general discussion session on youth unemployment.

The theme of the conference is "Building of a Future with Decent Work".

Manyi said it is proposed that the outcomes of this conference will feed into already existing programmes to aid the country in addressing youth unemployment.

According to a National Treasury February 2011 discussion paper titled "Confronting youth unemployment: policy options for South Africa", about 42% of young people under the age of 30 are unemployed compared with less than 17% of adults over 30.

Only one in eight working age adults under 25 years of age have a job compared with 40% in most emerging economies.

Employment of 18 - 24 year olds has fallen by more than 20% (320 000) since December 2008.

Unemployed young people tend to be less skilled and inexperienced - almost 86% do not have formal further or tertiary education, while two-thirds have never worked.