Ways to cut youth unemployment

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With the latest focus on tackling youth unemployment, the issue is finally being put under the microscope. But, funding is just the start, there needs to be a focus on linking together the schools, universities and employers.

Another looming question is how many affected young people are actually attempting to find work?

We should encourage:

  • Entrepreneurship - teaching children the skills to start, manage and operate their own businesses would be the first step in creating a more independent and driven generation of youth;
  • Reassessing the value of unpaid internships - while internships can help lay the foundation for a career, unpaid placements can also leave interns disillusioned towards the concept of work. Organisations should offer some form of minimal pay;
  • Re-evaluating the distribution of welfare - care must be taken to avoid promotion of welfare as a viable alternative to work;
  • Earlier career guidance - career advisers at schools should be engaging with pupils earlier in their schooling to tap into their skills and help steer them on a career path; and
  • Increased uptake of work-related learning and qualifications in the senior phase of school.

The bottom line is that by having a full assessment of internships, education and welfare, the government may well be able to reduce high levels of youth unemployment and identify the key areas for reform.

Otherwise, an entire generation may be lost to a lack of direct action.

Shaista Mia

Morningside, Durban

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