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Why youth development programmes are critical to the SA success story

Design a range of programmes and employment possibilities our young people. Picture: Supplied

Design a range of programmes and employment possibilities our young people. Picture: Supplied

Published May 18, 2022

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According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), unemployment in Q4 last year rose to 35.3% from 34.9% in the previous quarter. This is the highest level since the start of the QLFS in 2008.

Analysts have described the country’s economy as “producing jobless growth” and believe that even with upward economic growth in the medium term, South Africa will still have an overall unemployment figure of about 30%.

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Youth unemployment is a global issue, even more acutely pronounced in South Africa, where the most recent figures are sounding critical alarm bells.

According to the QLFS report, of the 7.9 million unemployed persons in the fourth quarter of 2021, as many as 51.6% had education levels below matric.

Astron Energy’s Organisational Capability, Learning and Development Manager Lindiwe Ncongwane said: “It is an often repeated mantra that education is the key to success, but the labour force survey certainly bears this out.

“Education allied to opportunity is the golden key to breaking this cycle of unemployment and to create a future for young people in the country.”

Astron Energy, which operates South Africa’s second largest network of retail sites including the Caltex brand, runs a number of youth development programmes covering both academic support and workplace and experiential learning opportunities.

Astron Energy’s Youth Development Programmes include:

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⦁Learnerships

⦁Bursaries

⦁Apprenticeships

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⦁In-service training

⦁Graduate internship programme

According to Ncongwane, South African Corporates have a key role to play in providing opportunities for graduates and those with other qualifications to help reduce the number of unemployed, and also to help build a generation of employable young people.

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The company also runs a number of school-level initiatives in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths education) space. In line with the 4th Industrial Revolution’s focus on the 3Cs of Communication, Critical thinking and Collaboration, has broadened this to STEAM – Science, Technology, Arts and Maths – in a bid to develop problem-solving and process-based learning.

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