The first Basic Package of Support (BPS) pilot site in Atlantis, Western Cape, opened its doors in the second half of January 2022; in less than three months, 132 young people have enrolled for this innovative youth coaching and support programme. Of these, 109 are eligible for the programme (meaning they are from the area, aged 18 to 25, and currently not in education or employment). 60 young people have started their coaching trajectory, with over a dozen now having completed their fourth mentoring session.
The BPS team has set up a case management system and dashboard that allows them to track programme implementation and young people’s progress through the coaching sessions. This way, the team can gather valuable data that will help in determining the success of the coaching approach, which aims to connect young people with the services that they need to enable them to transition into work or educational opportunities.
“The data that is emerging from the pilot phase will be invaluable. At this point it is interesting to see that the majority of participants are young women. This is to be expected since we do see higher rates of unemployment amongst young women nationally. But it does speak to the need for us to actively reach out to young men. Although we have had walk-ins and registrations via our partner SAYouth.mobi, the vast majority of the participants have been recruited to the programme through active outreach by our mobilisers in the community,” says Prof Lauren Graham, Director at CSDA, and co-Principal Investigator on the project.
At the moment, most of the participants in Atlantis have a matric certificate, with many also holding a national diploma. The majority also seem reasonably financially secure, with few experiencing food insecurity; most have a stable place to live; and most live in households where at least one person is employed. Prof Ariane De Lannoy, Principal Investigator on the programme at SALDRU, says “based on this information, it seems that we are not yet reaching the most vulnerable young people in Atlantis. This is important monitoring data and will inform how we approach outreach and recruitment going forward.” It is interesting to see that 73% of the participants don’t have any dependents, but, as might be expected, 87% of those with dependents are young women.
De Lannoy and Graham indicated that they are “excited to have already filled all the recruitment spaces in Atlantis and are looking forward to walking alongside these young people as they begin the hard task of developing long-term action plans, connecting to the services they need, and looking for work or educational opportunities that will enable them to achieve their goals.”
The BPS team is now focused on getting the next pilot site in Orange Farm, Gauteng, up and running. That site is set to open in June 2022, after which the team will begin preparing for a third site, to open in eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal.