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Pathway to employment for youth

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South Africa’s biggest advantage for a global future, a young population with an average age of 27 years, is currently its weakest link. With 60% of the total population under the age of 34 years, and many of them struggling to gain access to quality education, most young people entering the workplace do so without the necessary skills to find meaningful work.

Misconceptions exist in tems of temporary employment in a multiple of aspects. Photo by Creative Commons

Misconceptions exist in tems of temporary employment in a multiple of aspects. Photo by Creative Commons

As the labour market tightens with economic pressures driven by the global pandemic and rapidly evolving 4IR skills requirements that create additional entry hurdles, opportunities for young people are limited. According to StatsSA Q3 QLFS, the percentage of 15 – 34-year-old South Africans who are not in employment, education, or training (NEET), increased to 43% in 2020.

Facilitating opportunities

The Temporary Employment Services (TES) sector has long supported youth entry to the labour market, facilitating opportunities to access work. Temporary and contract roles help to provide essential workplace experience, develop skills, and help to build the CV of individuals, enhancing their prospects of future employment.

Research conducted by University of Cape Town’s Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU), showed that the TES sector has been the single largest employer of youth since democracy. Facilitated employment, via TES, has been seen by employers as an attractive youth workforce management model, primarily because the TES is able to handle large-scale recruitment and selection utilising effective screening methods, coordinate inductions and workplace readiness programmes, and provide ongoing support in the form of coaching, workplace skills development, performance, and disciplinary management.

In fact, several youth employment initiatives, like Yes4Youth, have been built on this model, and continue to be delivered by many TES providers and other employment intermediary organisations.

Protecting the most vulnerable

Inexperienced individuals, especially those who are desperate for employment, are at risk of being exploited. Legislation and regulation exist to protect all individuals in employment, including those employed temporarily or in contractual arrangements, including learnerships.

The Confederation of Associations in the Private Employment Sector (CAPES), states, “Sadly there are misconceptions about the rights of temporary employees in respect of rates of pay, statutory benefits, and fair labour practice. Our members ensure decent work principles are met and are all audited to ensure full compliance with legislation and regulation, and their employees/assignees can be assured of compliant, fair, and ethical treatment.”