There’s no doubt that unemployment is a global crisis, especially among the youth. According to the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Global Employment Trends for Youth 2015 report, “73.3 million of the 200 million globally unemployed are young people (aged 15-24)”
That’s a little scary. The stats in South Africa are similar. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the youth unemployment rate has only decreased by half a percentage point since 2012.
So what’s to be done? President Cyril Ramaphosa has spoken about a ‘shared economy’, and has said he is committed to growing our economy, and tackling unemployment through various programmes and paid internships. He has also pledged to improve the quality of education, with an aim to provide free tertiary education for all.
But is empowering the youth of South Africa an issue that only the government can handle? No!
It’s time for us to all stand together to create opportunities for young South Africans to thrive. There is so much that business and individuals can do! Many South Africans have resources at their disposal to help – and in the case of unemployment, a little help goes a long way.
How can business empower young South Africans?
Essential skills training – Support organisations that offer training in essential skills, or even soft skills like critical thinking, teamwork and problem-solving. If you are an employer, offer this training to your entry-level employees.
Subsidies, bursaries and paid internships – If all South African companies we committed to taking on just one intern and provide them with long term skills, there would be a significant decrease in youth unemployment.
Financial literacy – This is a big one because one of the many consequences of poverty is not understanding things like budgeting and how to make sound financial choices.
Financial support – This includes bursaries, but also donations to organisations like Teen Entrepreneur that are empowering the youth through skills training in entrepreneurship.
Support online learning programmes – Empowering the youth through online entrepreneurship learning makes entrepreneur content and learning solutions available to young people digitally. This can help change the lives of young people who would otherwise not have access to this type of programme, and they, in turn, are able to re-invest what they have learned into their communities. Invest in the entrepreneurship knowledge of our youth by supporting one or more of our initiatives. Watch our YouTube video for more info on this worthy programme and contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can you help empower the youth?
Support local business – Individuals can choose to support local business when they are able to, thereby helping to grow South Africa’s small business economy.
Specifically, support ‘marginalised’ groups – Black-owned business, women in business, businesses run by people with disabilities… when you support these businesses, you help to decrease unemployment in marginalised groups.
This is what a shared economy means – yes, the government should be committed to tackling unemployment through their policies and programmes, however, it is up to all of us to support the economy as best we can, in order to empower our future: the youth of South Africa!