NYDA concerned with rise in youth unemployment, calling for more collaboration

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has noted with concern the recent Statistics South Africa quarterly labour force survey (QLFS) released on Tuesday which highlights yet another increase in South Africa’s unemployment levels. According to the report South Africa has reached its highest level since 2008 – 25.5% in the second quarter of 2014. Of great concern for the NYDA is the persistent increase in youth unemployment. Statistics South Africa indicates in the report that, the unemployment rate was significantly higher for young people (aged between 15 and 34) at 36.1 %, compared to adults.
 
This persistent increase in youth unemployment levels takes place within the backdrop of renewed government commitment and efforts to curb the rising challenge. Although the report shows improved level of educational attainment amongst the youth during the period 2008 and 2014, it unfortunately indicates that their labour market prospects has deteriorated.
 
These numbers reflect an urgent need for government, labour, business and development agencies to move with speed in implementing the numerous agreements that have been put in place and by so doing, place youth development at the core of their everyday business.
 
Government has specifically put measures in place to boost labour absorption among young people and to create an environment for economic growth that supports youth development in the long term. These include amongst others; measures to improve education and skills development, the Youth Employment Accord, Infrastructure Development programme, and support of entrepreneurship through the various Development Funding Institutions (DFIs).
 
The NYDA has also amongst other interventions, entered into a formal agreement with Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) as well as other DFI’s to provide comprehensive support to youth enterprises (both financial and non-financial). Whilst government has consistently invested in young people, there is a need for increased investment in the youth, more so in the area of entrepreneurship.
 
With the creation of the new Ministry for Small Business Development, the NYDA hopes that the rate of survival of small businesses will be greatly improved.
The NYDA will work with the Ministry to pay special attention to youth businesses. This must be a time for all social partners to work more closely together and scale up their interventions towards ensuring impact in addressing the youth unemployment challenge.
The NYDA is currently working with the Department of Economic Development (EDD) on the youth employment strategy, which seeks to bring all interventions together and to deal with unemployment in a holistic and co-ordinated manner.

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