Programme to address the NEETS employment crisis in full swingSubmitted by Frieda Pehlivan Pehlivan
With SA’s youth unemployment and NEET (youth not in employment, education, or training) rates on the rise, now is the time to rethink the way we approach youth employment for the future leaders of our country.
According to Statistic SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) Q3: 2020, ‘Compared to Q3: 2019, the percentage of young persons aged 15–34 years who were not in employment, education or training (NEET) increased by 2,6 percentage points from 40,4% to 43,0% (out of 20,5 million) in Q3: 2020. The NEET rate for males increased by 3,1 percentage points, while for females the rate increased by 20 percentage points in Q3: 2020’. These are powerful statistics, depicting just how serious the NEET crisis is.
Fr Patrick Naughton, CEO of the Salesian Institute Youth Projects (SIYP), says that “confronting the situation starts with offering equal access to quality education, understanding the barriers to skills development, practising new ways of teaching and creating more economic opportunities for young people – whether it be in existing employment opportunities or encouraging entrepreneurship. We are piloting a NEETs Employability Programme through project-based learning (PBL) at the Salesian Institute Youth Projects, above all, we believe that the suite of programmes we now have in place that teach skills in niche industries such as hospitality, carpentry, maritime and automotive will provide opportunities for placement straight out of school”.
The demand for human capital in the labour market continues and whilst the majority of learning curricula now focus on technology-driven ‘jobs of the future’, ‘jobs of the past’ are not yet obsolete. By focussing on growing industries in the current labour market, SIYP attempts to make employment and entrepreneurship opportunities more accessible to NEETs.
SIYP launched the NEETs Work Readiness Programme early 2021. This is a 12-month programme consisting of three modules including a foundation phase, community development and practical work experience in the form of internships. “By recruiting from one specific community at a time, we hope to create a critical mass, thereby uplifting and empowering not just one individual but an entire graduate class at a time, offering the opportunity for impactful change within their community”, adds Fr Pat.
The pilot phase of the NEETS project is midway through the Foundation Module. In this module, students have, through Project Based Learning methodology been introduced to the process of active learning and enquiry through various short-term projects. The curriculum is in concurrent development as authored by Emeritus Professor Ryan and funded by DG Murray Trust. Digital Portfolios of Evidence are compiled for all completed work. Throughout the Modules, accredited SAQA courses are being introduced. They are Informal Small to Medium Business Practice, Hospitality and Generic Management Wholesale and Retail. “We believe we are on track with the development of this pilot programme. The ultimate aim will be a qualification between NQF3 and 4,” said Fr Pat.
SIYP is working closely with the City of Cape Town and are looking at creating a symbiotic relationship with the city for the second Module of the programme which is the Community Based Module in which citizenship and understanding the needs of the community come into focus.
“We are actively fundraising to secure the continuation of this much needed programme into the future, and welcomes any potential investments into our youth programmes,” concludes Fr Naughton. As a registered NGO, Salesian Institute Youth Projects depends on the donations of individuals and corporates to enable them to offer these programmes. In fact, 93% of their funding goes directly into programmes and thus the youth they serve. They are always looking for assistance in terms of funds and in-kind donations or even volunteers to assist in these programmes. If you would like to find out how you can make an impact with SIYP, visit https://salesianyouth.org/get-involved/.
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