As the levels of youth unemployment reach alarming levels, Deputy President David Mabuza says government will look at incentivising discouraged work-seekers and employers to address the challenge.

The Deputy President said this when he responded to oral questions during a virtual sitting of the National Council of Provinces on Thursday.

“Moving forward and working with our social partners, it will be important to find practical measures of incentivising further discouraged young work-seekers and also scaling up our incentives to employers in both the public and private sectors to employ young people to gain a foothold and the requisite experience,” he said.

Recent unemployment statistics revealed a bleak picture for young people, with 64.4% of those aged between 15 to 24 being unemployed, and 42.9% of those aged between the ages of 25 and 35 finding themselves out of work.

Addressing provincial NCOP delegates, the Deputy President said government recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on efforts to create jobs, particularly for the youth and people with disabilities.

Since the advent of COVID-19 in March 2020, the share of young people under 35 years old in all employment levels has fallen from 56% before the pandemic to 50% today.

“Among the concrete measures is to ensure that there is high absorption capacity of young people and women, and set-asides in sectors such as agriculture and agro-processing, mining, tourism, the oceans economy and service industries,” Mabuza said.

At the recently held Fourth Human Resource Development Council Summit, social partners agreed on the urgent need to address the issue of young people that drop out at various points of their schooling prior to attaining their matric qualification, as they add to the tally of young people that are not in employment, education or training.

“We further agreed that our response should be comprehensive enough to ensure that we equip young people with skills that are relevant, and will close the prevalent gap of skills required and those available in the labour market.

“We are optimistic that through our coordination of the Human Resource Development Council, we will be able to find workable, long-term solutions to the skills gap and youth unemployment through convergences in the deployment of resources to achieve better outcomes.

“The importance of pragmatic public-private partnerships cannot be emphasised enough to empower and capacitate young people, for whom economic emancipation remains a deferred dream,” said Mabuza.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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