StatsSA has published the most recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), which shows that South Africa’s unemployment rate currently stands at 32.6%.
According to BusinessTech, the data reveals that unemployment among the 15-34 years of age bracket stands at 46.3%, which demonstrates the struggle facing young job seekers.
Among these statistics is a figure of 9.3% that relates to young, unemployed university graduates who are desperately seeking jobs.
In an effort to address this challenge facing the youth in particular, the state has unveiled the newly developed National Youth Policy (NYP) 2020-2030 that aims to strengthen youth development during and after Covid-19, the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) said.
Some of the unemployment interventions that have been proposed includes:
- Abolish the requirement for experience for entry-level jobs to enable more youth to enter the labour market and gain experience on the job.
- Create quality and meaningful jobs for youth, so that they are at the centre of all job creation interventions.
- Equip young people with skills in the key growth sectors to access opportunities.
- Introduce innovative ways to support young entrepreneurs.
The Basic Universal Income Grant will also be introduced, which is “an incentive similar to the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant primarily to support youth to transition into employment or entrepreneurship.”
In an interview with SAnews, Chief Director responsible for youth development in DWYPD, Dr Bernice Hlagala said that the policy includes an Integrated Youth Development Strategy, developed by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA):
“The strategy is informed by five key pillars of the policy, which are quality education skills and second chance; economic transformation, entrepreneurship and job creation; mental health and promotion of physical health, and also looks at issues of pandemics; social cohesion and nation building; and effective and responsive youth development machinery.
“[The] public and private sector is not responding effectively to young people’s needs. The policy seeks to try and ensure that service providers accelerate implementation of interventions, so that young people can benefit and become contributing members of society. Many youth take far too long to transition to adulthood due to unemployment, and this is a concern,” she adds.
There is an emphasis placed on promoting mental health within the new policy, Hlagala said, while advocating for an “increase of rehabilitation centres and services in place, as well as awareness programmes.”
Government departments will also identify specific responsibilities and targets, and further redirect young people on where they should go in order to access resources they require, SAnews adds.
“We also hope that it will enable them to get employment, or to become entrepreneurs so that they can create jobs for themselves and other young people. We also look at the policy enabling young people to contribute to their immediate communities and society,” says Hlagala.