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The Y-AGE programme aims to reach and benefit as many of South Africa’s young people as possible.
For this reason, the training provided does not only focus on unemployed youth, but also on other young people who may already be in the working world, but who aspire to become entrepreneurs and create jobs for fellow South Africans.
The Y-AGE training component is led by the South African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, a founding partner of the programme.
Tailor-made training solutions have been designed specifically for the youth in the following employment groups:
l Unemployed youth and graduates
These are youth and graduates who are not employed at the time of going to training.
They will undergo a six-week new venture creation (NVC) programme, after which they will be taken through business planning development and funding facilitation. They will then return to class, which will be followed by the actual business start-up.
These stages will be followed by further training and assessment.
l Youth in business
This group is made up of young people with businesses that have evidence of being in operation for at least two years.
They will attend business turnaround workshops, which are designed to give their business the boost and support required for growth and sustainability.
l Working youth
Youth who have more than five years’ working experience will attend a series of seminars, which will address a variety of issues related to new venture creation.
Thereafter, a part-time programme will be designed, based on the main issues dealt with in the new venture creation training.
Focus will be given to the business plan development required to source funding.
l Youth in training
Y-AGE schools outreach and Y-AGE on campus activities have been developed for youth who are still in school or in further education and training (FET) colleges and universities.
Before a business concept can be implemented, the entrepreneur needs to have an indication of what it means to start up, run and sustain a successful business.
Understanding how a modern economy functions includes examining issues such as unemployment, ownership, wages, prices, and government policies.
Y-AGE embodies the elements required to address all of these issues, ensuring that the entrepreneur receives the best out of the training. The training interventions will be complemented by a year-long mentorship programme.
Youth often have wonderfully creative business ideas. What they lack is guidance, training and financial resources. South Africa is perfectly positioned to be at the forefront of environmentally and socially responsible business in the world.
At the same time, the country has an acute problem of youth unemployment that requires a multi-pronged strategy to raise employment and support inclusion and social cohesion. High youth unemployment means young people are not acquiring the skills or experience needed to drive the economy forward.
Y-AGE has identified an opportunity to translate this issue into a key development focus. South Africa has an Asian-inspired plan to cut unemployment down to 15 percent by 2020.
After 2011 was declared the year of job creation by President Jacob Zuma, official unemployment had fallen from 25 percent to 23.9 percent in the last quarter of the year.
A Facebook user wrote on the presidential wall: “Mr President, job creation again. As the youth of South Africa we have degrees and diplomas hanging over our shoulders, but there are no jobs.”
This is where a programme such as Y-AGE steps in. Y-AGE can only benefit the country’s economy if youth with sound business concepts apply and commit themselves to using their talents and ideas to empower themselves and create jobs.
The training that entrepreneurs are to receive when on the programme will empower them to conceptualise beyond just having finances, but creating jobs and sustaining businesses, while simultaneously assisting towards the 2020 unemployment eradication plan.