A Focus on Youth, in the run up to June 2023

Image: Gerd Altmann on Pixabay.

With over 3.4 million young people aged 15-24 out of employment, education or training (NEET), the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention (PYEI) recognises the urgent need to support youth to move more successfully from learning to earning, and to reconnect those who are out of the labour market and the education system to opportunities. The PYEI – introduced in 2020 – is South Africa’s most comprehensive effort to date which aims to address the country’s youth unemployment crisis.

The intervention brings together the strengths of numerous government institutions and social partners to deliver more opportunities for training, work experience and income for young people, but also works to make these opportunities more visible to more young people. Central to the PYEI’s efforts is therefore the establishment of a National Pathway Management Network (NPMN) that aims to better guide young people towards existing opportunities. Several of SALDRU’s youth-focused projects are a part of the PYEI and of the NPMN.


SALDRU projects that are part of the PYEI and NPMN

 First, the Youth Explorer serves as a key information platform for the various partners in the PYEI and the intervention’s pilot projects that have rolled out since 2022. It maps indicators on youth well-being at various geographical areas, alongside service provision. As such, it builds a pipeline of information crucial for policy design, planning and implementation. This year, the Explorer adds an additional layer of knowledge by introducing a series of indicators on full time employment for youth. The team is also gearing up to include an update of its overall indicators as soon as the Census 2022 data is released. Read more about how the Youth Explorer builds layers of knowledge to better inform policy design and planning here. 

 Second, the Basic Package of Support programme for young people who are NEET has opened 5 pilot sites in 3 provinces in the past 16 months. Learnings from the pilot phase are being consolidated and will feed into the broader network, while the consortium leading the work explores possibilities for incubation and scale up.


Basic Package of Support for NEET youth: moving youth from discouragement to hope

 The Basic Package of Support (BPS) pilot implementation phase began in early 2022, led by SALDRU, University of Cape Town, the Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA, University of Johannesburg) and DG Murray Trust (DGMT). This phase has been undertaken in collaboration with previous and new partners, including the NPMN of the PYEI, to ensure that the BPS is integrated into the national initiative that aims to streamline the youth unemployment focus across government departments.

The pilot implementation phase has focused on developing and nurturing multi-sectoral communities of practice at national, provincial, and local levels to support both young people and the services and opportunities that exist for them; and to roll out the approach, tools and systems of the BPS in five selected communities in three provinces of South Africa. The aim of this phase has been to understand whether the theoretical BPS concept and all of its envisaged components could be turned into a reality to achieve proof of concept.

Having achieved the proof of concept, the BPS is now entering an incubation phase, characterised by improvements through ongoing learning and preparation for scale, and including the exercise of transitioning the programme’s current direct implementation model to a more partner driven model. Read more about this here.