Beyond The Youth Programmes – If You Play Peanuts, You Get Monkeys

The U.S. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the economy added 223,000 new jobs in December 2022, down from 256,000 in November 2022. In other words, the US economy generated about 400 000 jobs in just 60 days. However, in South Africa, 400 000–700 000 youth will be reported to be jobless.

A Sotho said, “This has to be alarming hle“.

I just finished a one and a half hour conversation, if not two hours, with one of the top CSI managers in South Africa. I questioned one of her recently created programmes for youth employment. Are you aware that the youth unemployment rate has risen over time? I asked her. Yes, but her programme is the best, she responded to me.

When I approached her, I said, “Are you aware that I spoke to about seven CSI heads about their youth programmes, and all of them believe they have great programmes.”. She responded by saying that we have conducted a thorough investigation and put ours through rigorous scientific scrutiny. I responded, “I’m sure the other organisations haven’t—I mean, they’ll tell you they have, too,” adding that I was confident they had.

She then asked, indignantly, “Simphiwe, what do you want?” to which I responded, “My team and I have done some research on these youth programmes, and I stated last week that we see two things looming”. Riots, looting, and possibly a decline in the credibility of CSI divisions will all rise as some organisations close these divisions and place them under their marketing and human resources departments.

Because these young people you take from deep Limpopo or Qhebega or wherever the newest remote name you come up with is—after you have spent a year to three years with them and invested over half a million rand on each one of them, perhaps—either cannot find employment or are unable to work because the job market is not able to embrace them—your programmes, which are so marvellous, are not dealing with the real problem.

The skills they acquired do not address the needs of the economy, and Limpopo, Qhebega, or any other exotic name does not have a strong enough economic foundation to take in robotics or coding as you suggest. The result is frequently young people with degrees and everything else but no real jobs.

Simphiwe, what is the remedy? We need you guys with the ZAR50 million and the ZAR100 million to think better, I said. I’ve spoken to most of you, and I promise you all that you all have great programmes. However, if you read the US economic statistics, they are able to create 400 thousand jobs in 60 days, while you struggle to create 500 thousand in ten years. Clearly, something is off.

Therefore, we are inviting you and other youth policy makers, programme developers, and everyone else into a room as part of the first series of solutions. You have all stated that your programmes are incredible, which is unquestionable. However, let’s sit down in a room together and beta test those programmes on top of that; you will discover your own blind spots when a group of people who deal with this on a daily basis is working together.

Second, you guys need to commit to a different pool of money. For instance, let’s have four corporates each invest ZAR10 million in a national youth employment flagship programme. That would be 40 million per annum and ZAR200 million in five years. Employ The GivenGroup Foundation to serve as administrators and implementers. Let’s work on the additional frameworks, programmes, and policies that our foundation must establish within the next five years.

Additionally, using the funding, we will establish a nonprofit to address a corporate-based programme or problem, which will result in the creation of 40–60 jobs just by the four corporates coming together. That is the alternative I have. I questioned, “Do you have 25 million over the next five years to give?”. Yes, please allow me to call my other partner colleagues and suggest this to them.

Now that we’re talking. Please take another look at your programmes, CSI Managers; if your programmes are serving to reach less than 1,000 people, you are playing. There is a saying that goes, “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”.

Better thinking is necessary, so we must reconsider how we think. We are so committed to this programme that we wrote one of the thought leadership principal articles for our upcoming quarterly, and we are happy to share that in advance (click me). Please take the time to read it; it will clarify what we are trying to communicate to you.

We are advising you to reconsider your thinking and look at it from a new angle. You are playing if you have 50 to 100 people in your head. We must consider a minimum of 1,000 people at this point.

That was our suggestion.

Corporate Social Responsibility News (CSRNEWS) is South Africa’s leading Corporate Social Responsibility news, media and publishing firm. We create content on social responsibility, helping government, corporates, consultants, NPOs and NGOs to reach their target markets through appropriate, targeted development news.

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