Four lessons from youth work initiative

Public employment programmes can play a big function within the struggle in opposition to youth unemployment by offering younger folks with short-term work expertise, expertise and expanded social networks.

In a rustic the place greater than nine million young people should not in employment, schooling or coaching, the federal government has frequently prioritised direct job creation although public employment programmes such because the Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWP).

Although we have now seen a constant improve in expenditure on programmes geared toward enabling financial development and job creation, these don’t appear efficient in turning the tide on youth unemployment. Since 2004, the EPWP has generated greater than eight million work alternatives. Although these short-term alternatives present speedy aid to households, there’s little understanding of how these essential inputs are positioned to attach younger folks with long-term work alternatives that can shift their future trajectories.

In response to Covid-19’s impact on jobs and livelihoods, public employment programmes have been given a distinguished function. As a part of the Presidential Employment Stimulus, the Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI) was carried out by the division of fundamental schooling. 

The largest programme within the first section of the stimulus, the BEEI positioned practically 320 000 folks aged 18 to 35 in additional than 26 000 public colleges in roles as both education assistants or general school assistants for 5 months, at a minimal wage. With the second phase of the programme just lately introduced, the primary section of the BEEI provides the chance for insights to make sure that public employment programmes profit each younger folks and neighbourhoods.

To transcend the variety of alternatives created and to floor actionable lessons, Youth Capital, ORT SA Cape, and [email protected] carried out two on-line surveys in April 2021. We surveyed younger folks employed as assistants in public colleges by the BEEI or different college assistant programmes, and college administration personnel of faculties that hosted these assistants, providing them a platform to judge their experiences.

From our survey it was clear that the assist offered by these younger assistants was optimistic not just for colleges, but in addition for younger folks’s households and their neighbourhoods.

With 2 905 respondents and 108 colleges’ administration respondents, the pattern just isn’t consultant of both younger folks or colleges however the results, coupled with ORT SA Cape and [email protected]’s insights from their work expertise programmes, supply 4 suggestions on making public employment programmes work successfully for younger folks:

Adequate capacity-building

Transferable expertise are an integral element of those work experiences. Although 60% of younger folks reported receiving coaching from college workers members, solely 23% of faculty administration personnel believed the assistants had been adequately skilled earlier than they commenced work. Public employment programmes might present some preliminary digital coaching previous to beginning work, through the use of zero-rated platforms comparable to In addition, ongoing coaching needs to be offered in the course of the programme, to make sure most profit from this work expertise and to attach the contributors with future alternatives.


Part of the aim of faculty assistant programmes is to supply younger folks with a primary real-world work expertise, requiring steering and mentorship to assist them perform their duties. Mentorship needs to be a obligatory element of faculty assistant programmes, and the function of the mentor and mentee needs to be clearly established in the beginning of the programme. Surveyed college workers members indicated their willingness to supply mentorship if briefed and skilled forward of the arrival of the assistants.

Contracts and exits 

Given the varsity holidays, a contract interval of 1 year is perfect to supply the required coaching to the assistants, and to make sure that colleges reap the utmost profit for the time and money invested into every assistant. This perception is supported by the suggestions from surveyed colleges, which indicated that contracts needs to be prolonged to cover the total college year. Furthermore, these programmes needs to be designed to supply a significant exit pathway. The BEEI provides a short-term alternative, so coaching, assist and data needs to be built-in to equip contributors to navigate their subsequent step in additional knowledgeable methods and so as to add worth to their job-seeking journey.

Candidates choice

Feedback from the colleges that hosted assistants point out that the general expertise is best for each assistants and colleges if roles and tasks are made clear from the beginning. School administration would favor to be concerned within the recruitment course of, as a result of they believed the mistaken candidates have been typically chosen. In addition, putting younger folks in colleges within the neighbourhoods the place they dwell means they don’t have to seek out and pay for transport to get to work on time. Recruitment ought to be certain that persons are chosen on benefit in a good, open course of to forestall nepotism.

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