The Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI) has, since 2020, made “significant progress” in tackling the challenge of transitioning youth from learning to earning.
That is according to the Presidency’s Lerato Shai, who was addressing the media on Monday.
The PYEI was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during 2020 as an intervention to rising youth unemployment in South Africa.
Shai explained that government has taken a partnership-based approach with departments and society to create a network where youth from all over the country can access opportunities to earn on the National Pathway Management Network.
“How we are tackling this problem is through three key objectives: driving systems change and focusing on the barriers that young people face; stimulating demand and aggregating opportunities into a single network to make it easy for young people to access opportunities, and of course, the actual work of linking them to opportunities.
“We really have made significant progress since the President launched this programme in 2020. It’s been only two and a half years since then. Some four million youth are in the network and accessing opportunities, and finding more traction in the labour market than before,” Shai said.
Since the launch of the National Pathway Management Network, young people have been supported to access 934 563 temporary earning opportunities.
“The National Pathway Management Network... brought together all the different networks, which are serving young people and providing them with opportunities, into a single network and we are connecting these networks in ways that allow young people to be more visible, as well as to able to be linked to all the opportunities,” Shai said.
She explained that the network is also reaching those who have not always had access to opportunities to earn.
“In the last financial year alone, 380 556 opportunities were secured by young people on this network. The NYS [National Youth Service] is starting to show evidence that with more targeted design, we can really support pathways to earning and transition young people more effectively from learning to earning.
“The network is now reaching South Africa's most excluded young people. Close to 70% of the opportunities on the SA Youth platform were secured by young women, who are black Africans and are the most excluded in the labour market.
"We are also reaching the poorest young people, with many of them reporting that they live in households that are receiving a social grant, as well as reporting that they attended some of the poorest schools in the country,” Shai said.
Change of tact
At the same media briefing, National Youth Development Agency CEO, Waseem Carrim, said the National Youth Day commemoration will have a strong emphasis on bringing employment opportunities to young people.
The commemoration will be held at the Mangaung Outdoor Sports Centre in Bloemfontein this coming Friday and Saturday.
Carrim said the agency’s engagements with youth have revealed that rally style commemorations of Youth Day no longer resonate with youth.
“Government really has adopted a differential approach to Youth Day. One of the things that we have detected in our conversations with young people is that the methodology of how we commemorate these events through mass-based rallies is no longer relevant to the modern day generation.
“What we have found is that young people are responsive to opportunities. So government will be hosting a very large scale opportunities and career expo for young people in Mangaung on Friday as a response to what the actual needs of young people are,” Carrim said. – SAnews.gov.za