Youth unemployment and limited skills development remain a critical challenge in South Africa, and although the graduate unemployment rate is still lower than that of other educational levels, youth unemployment persists as a problem regardless of one’s educational level.
The unemployment crisis not only affects the livelihoods of young individuals but the overall economic growth and stability of our country.
To address this pressing issue, it is imperative for organisations to come together and accelerate targeted, shared initiatives that not only empower our youth but create pathways for youth employment and self-employment. “Through shared resources, and working collectively, we have the power to reshape the employment narrative in South Africa, opening doors of opportunity and unlocking the untapped potential of our youth”, states Lethiwe Hlatshwayo. It demands urgent attention and more importantly a collaborative approach from organisations. Collaboration provides a platform for organisations to bring together their expertise, shared knowledge, resources, and networks to develop innovative solutions and amplify impact.
Through joint initiatives, such as mentorship programs, skills training, and entrepreneurship support, these partnerships can bridge the gap between education and employment, empowering young individuals with the skills they need to thrive. “We are asking the wrong questions, we should not talk about jobs but about livelihoods which incorporate other ways of earning a living. To address the unemployment crisis, corporates need to push a collaborative agenda” – Professor Friedman, University of Johannesburg.
Investing in the Culture of Entrepreneurship
Through collaboration, organisations can create an enabling ecosystem for young entrepreneurs by empowering youth to create their own jobs, drive innovation, and contribute to economic growth. Thus the need to invest in youth initiatives that promote self-employment is key in changing the employment narrative in South Africa.
Cell C’s SEE YOUTH initiative recognises the importance of entrepreneurial skills in fostering self-sufficiency and self-employment. In collaboration with our partners, the program offers insight into the entrepreneurial journey, through mentorship opportunities, access to digital literacy skills, and incubation tactics. Through this process, youth are exposed to the fundamentals of business planning, financial management, marketing, and innovation.
Tackling youth unemployment in South Africa cannot be done in isolation – it requires a collective effort and a shared vision for effective change.
It is only through pulling up, collaborating, and working together, that we can truly transform the employment narrative for our youth. Through collaboration, we can truly ignite the potential in our youth and change their worlds.