23 March 2022

Salesian Institute Youth Projects together with the City of Cape Town Provides Opportunities for Youth "Not in Education, Employment, or Training" (NEET)

Submitted by Frieda Pehlivan Pehlivan

South Africa continues to face an ever-increasing number of young people who are not in employment, education, or training (NEET ages 18 to 25). In respect of the Post-School Education and Training (PSET) system, the upsurge in the number of NEET suggests the need to expand access to post-school education and training opportunities in the system beyond current provisioning levels.

During this current epoch of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PSET system has a crucial role to play in reskilling and upskilling those who never attended school, who did not complete school, as well as those who require education and training opportunities to live more productive lives as individuals and citizens.  The Salesian Institute Youth Projects(SIYP) has been serving youth for over 100 years in Cape Town offering skills development programmes.

There are many challenges associated with being unemployed as youth. However, there are also opportunities that an unemployed young person should consider taking up. The youth are a very important group in South Africa as they are the future of the country.

Our South African population is currently made up largely of a young population with those who are below the age of 35 years constituting about 66% per cent of the total population. 18.5% are between the ages 10-19, and 24% are between the ages 15-24. These figures (STATS SA) therefore indicate a strong need for a much better understanding of the challenges the youth face so that those challenges can assist in identifying practical solutions for them. Identifying solutions for the challenges faced will also ensure that better opportunities are created.

The Salesian Institute Youth Projects launched a NEET Youth Employability Programme in February 2021 with the assistance of international funders. The SIYP pilot programme is a 12-month programme. Students for the pilot programme in 2021 was recruited from a specific community in Cape Town, with the objective to create a support structure within a community and to facilitate change within that community. The first SIYP NEET Youth Employability pilot programme was completed in February 2022 with 23 students completing their National Certificate in Small Venture Creation, a SETA NQF4 accredited certificate.

The City of Cape Town, whom also have been working hard to provide skills training to youth this year found a partner in SIYP to facilitate a NEET training programme through the VPUU (Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading) project. The City of Cape Town approached SIYP to administrate a condensed 6-month version of the NEET Youth Employability Programme. The City and our partners will collaborate with us for the employment and workplace module through their network of partners, once the 6-months has been completed.

Whereas the SIYP pilot programme was recruited from Hanover Park whilst the City of Cape Town cohort was selected from the Bishops Lavis & Bonteheuwel community. Planned recruitment from other diverse communities around Cape Town, like Khayelitsha and Langa will follow in due course.

From a large group of potential candidates from Bishops Lavis & Bonteheuwel, 40 youth completed the very important Lifeskills module of the programme and are now completing the rest of the 6-month programme at the Salesian Institute Youth Projects facility in Green Point, Cape Town.

“We would like to continue offering this invaluable opportunity to more young people, but funding remains an ongoing challenge”, said Fr Francois Dufour, SIYP CEO.  The NEET programme curriculum was developed for SIYP by Emeritus Professor Tom Ryan, an advocate for project-based learning. “This curriculum together with the SETA Small Venture Creations Certificate, can open doors for youth to gain employment, or start-up their own entrepreneurial ventures”, says Fr Dufour.

The NEET Youth Employability  Programme offers opportunities for youth from at-risk backgrounds, youth with various talents and potential, incubates over 6 to 12 months, with a SETA accredited qualification, entering the job market with skills they would have not been able to obtain on their own, considering their socio-economic circumstances. “The Salesian Institute Youth Projects will go the extra mile to ensure the continuation of this programme, securing funding both international and locally,” reiterates Fr Dufour. In the words of the Salesian founder St John Bosco: “In every young person, a point of goodness is accessible, and it is the primary duty  of the educator to discover that sensitive cord of the heart, so as to draw out the best in the young person.”

For more information on the NEET Youth Employability Programme, please visit: www.salesianyouth.org


Or contact Frieda Pehlivan, Communications Manager, Salesian Institute Youth Projects
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Tel: 021 425 1450