Tackling youth unemployment requires skills development programmes that not only help the youth to become technically skilled, but also ensure that they develop emotional and psycho-social skills to help navigate the new world. It was for this reason that the Lucha Lunako youth development lab called on the government and other education stakeholders to ensure that programmes meant to bolster youth initiatives ensured that they had a holistic approach to assisting them.
In doing so, the organisation believed it would ensure that the youth developed their own agency and sustainable skills to access decent income-generating opportunities, and not just a journey to a job. “The most meaningful interventions are ones that help the youth understand their purpose and become agents of change for themselves, leading to more positive and constructive growth.
“Creating more meaningful change will depend upon the government leveraging from experienced partners from within the sector, to better prepare the youth for the job market and become change-makers, business leaders and entrepreneurs, that will drive the country’s development and economic growth efforts.”
“As it stands, the results of the Quarterly Labour Force survey for the first quarter of 2020 indicate that employment decreased to 16.4 million, with unemployment increasing to 7.1 million, predominately affecting youths between the ages of 15 to 34, who account for 63.3% of the unemployment rate. This is despite the fact that the government spends billions every year on skills development programmes and initiatives, in addition to providing funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. Also, despite the private sector also pitching in on school-based initiatives, placement programmes and work-readiness programmes, interventions to assist the youth seem to have a limited impact.
For its part the organisation said research indicated that what was needed was for programmes to deal with trauma and stress early on, to ensure the effectiveness of interventions, and to test for, strengthen as well as build solid behavioural foundations in youth. There was also need for them to add basic skills that allowed the youth to still learn further skills. It advised funders to stop building new infrastructure and rather leverage existing infrastructure in townships and rural areas, and for better collaborations with organisations to stop working in silos.