Basic Package of Support enters implementation phase

Image: Wokandapix on Pixabay.

Well over 3 million young people between the ages of 15 to 24 in South Africa are not in employment, education or training (NEET). Longitudinal qualitative and quantitative data in the country shows that “being NEET” is not necessarily a static state: youth often cycle through short term training, jobs or self-employment opportunities but without necessarily really managing to move their lives forward onto more stable livelihoods. Research has also consistently indicated that the majority of these young people want to work, but recent analysis of Quarterly Labour Force Survey data also indicates a rising trend in discouragement among NEET youth.

To counter the feelings of hopelessness, strengthen agency and resilience, improve employability, and in an attempt to smooth transitions for young people who wish to reconnect to the education system or the labour market, the Basic Package of Support (BPS) team has worked for several years to build the foundation of a multi-faceted intervention.

The design of this BPS programme, its tools and approaches draws inspiration from the European Youth Guarantee, and have been developed on the basis of a rigorous review of national and international evidence, and several rounds of consultations with policy makers, civil society and young people themselves.

The BPS programme targets young people (aged 15 to 24) who are NEET, and proactively offers them holistic support that:

  • helps them understand available pathways (back) into education, training and work;
  • empowers them through referral to existing support services to connect to, take up and complete such pathways;
  • connects them to employment, education and training opportunities; and
  • keeps them connected to an opportunity over time through re-engagement, when necessary.


Our doors are open!

The team is excited to announce that the first BPS pilot site in Atlantis in the Western Cape is now open.

Supported by funding from the European Union via the Capacity Building Programme for Employment Promotion; SALDRU at the University of Cape Town, the Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) at the University of Johannesburg, and the DG Murray Trust have been collaborating on the BPS project for many years and joined hands more firmly during 2022 to ensure that we can finally begin working with young people to help them find their way back to work and education opportunities, and to the support services that exist for them.

During December and early January, the team recruited, trained and onboarded a full BPS site team – including two youth coaches, a senior youth coach, a mobiliser and a site manager. In the last week of January, the team began low-key, on the ground outreach, and listed BPS as an opportunity on, to ensure visibility of the programme to a broad group of youth in the pilot area.  Within three weeks, the team registered its first 50 beneficiaries.

In total, the Atlantis pilot site team will be working with 100 young people who are NEET, living in the Atlantis area, and between the ages of 18 to 25. Over a 12-month period, these youth will receive coaching, support and active referrals to the services that they need. They will be supported in their challenging and exciting personal development journeys that will hopefully see them find work or education opportunities.

Building a community of practice

The BPS team is committed to providing evidence-based support to young people, but also to bring that evidence into policy and practice to inform longer-term, sustainable change and to invite its partners into collaborative learning trajectories.

At the pilot site level, the team has assembled a local community of practice that includes 15 local service providers. These providers will be instrumental in supporting the BPS beneficiaries by linking them to the services that they need to support their development goals. The BPS vision is to build a network of service providers at the local level, who are passionate about youth development, who are committed to providing truly youth-friendly services to enable young people to reach their full potential, and who agree to problem-solve for better support to youth.

At the national level, BPS is part of the National Pathway Management Network in the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention, where it shares lessons learned on the ground and actively works to forge systems of support that no longer see young people “falling through the cracks”. System interoperability with SAYouth.Mobi is one tool to accomplish this, but so is the further development of the Youth Explorer and its publicly available database of service providers across the country.


Meet the Atlantis site team

Site Manager: Michelle Fortuin

Michelle is the new site manager at the Atlantis Pilot Site. She’s a natural problem solver and loves to get people motivated and inspired. She’ll be using her optimistic and sunny personality to create a happy and healthy working environment for both the BPS site team, as well as all the 100 young people they’ll be working with.

She’s excited to be a part of this project because, “I will be part of a safety net that offers young people the assistance they need to make their dreams a reality really. Young people will now give themselves permission to dream again!”


Senior Youth Coach: Dune De Blaar

Dune joins the team as the senior youth coach. Dune loves to spend time outdoors and her “superpowers” are her amazing observational and interpersonal skills, which she will be putting to good use as she guides young people on their development journey.

She’s excited to be a part of the team and her wish for the Atlantis pilot is to “stay as positive as we are at the current moment and to continue working as one team to make the programme a success within the Atlantis community.”


Youth Coach: Jeandre Neff

Jeandre Neff has joined the BPS team as a youth coach. She will be using her social work training to make a positive impact on young people’s lives. Jeandre, who loves to spend time on the beach or hiking on Table Mountain, is also a passionate dancer.

She will be using her great people skills as well as her listening and communication skills to “impact young people positively, especially those who are about to give up on their dreams.”


Youth Coach: Valton van Rooy

Valton has joined the team as a Youth Coach. He loves working with young people and he’s a great problem solver, which will be an asset as he helps young people on their personal development journeys.

Valton is a board game enthusiast, and he loves getting involved in energetic activities like sport. He loves the energy and ideas that young people bring to the table, and he is looking forward to “interacting with young people and empowering them”.


Mobiliser: Kaytlin Miller

Kaytlin’s taken on the role of mobiliser and she’ll be putting her great communication skills to good use as she recruits young people into the programme. Kaytlin, who loves to be outdoors, exploring and hiking, will make sure she truly tunes in and understands the needs of the young people she engages with.

Kaytlin is inspired to be a part of a team working to help young people in her community. She’s also got great vision and she sees herself growing as the BPS develops, “I wish to gain more experience as a mobiliser and go far beyond with the programme as it grows.”


Thanks to our partners

This pilot and the others that will be implemented later this year would not have been possible without the long-term support and funding from the European Union, via the Capacity Building Programme for Employment Promotion, based in the Government Technical Advisory Centre at National Treasury.

We also thank:

  • UNICEF for funding the staff salaries and operational costs of this site and the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) site that will open later in 2022.
  • The Department of Employment and Labour for providing a venue for our Atlantis office.
  • The Western Cape Government for funding site management capacity in Atlantis.
  • The National Association for Child and Youth Care Workers for supporting us to select child and youth care workers who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about working with young people.
  • The DG Murray Trust for its unwavering work to develop the youth coaching tools, the training approach and materials; and for funding the BPS implementation manager’s salary.
  • Tutuwa Standard Bank Foundation for funding staff salaries and operational costs of the Orange Farm site.
  • OpenUp for developing and hosting the Youth Explorer, which maps services across the country, needed to accurately refer young people


… and the many other partners who have offered us support and guidance along the growth journey of BPS!


What’s next? 

Outreach to young people in the Atlantis area has begun through our youth mobiliser as well as through the channel, and the first 50 young people have begun their coaching journeys. Data on how these youth do on a range of well-being, education and employment-related indicators are being captured over the duration of their engagement with the programme.

The BPS team has begun preparations for the opening of the Orange Farm and KZN pilot sites later this year. Take a look at our website for more updates.