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Developing New Skills for Youth in South Africa

By Kelsay Correa | August 03, 2017

Developing New Skills for Youth in South Africa

An initiative aimed at addressing the state of youth unemployment in South Africa was recently launched at Don Bosco Educational Centre in Ennerdale, Johannesburg. The initiative is part of J.P. Morgan’s $ 75 million, five-year, global New Skills for Youth  (NSFY) programme  designed to empower young people to acquire the education and credentials they need to be career-ready for and succeed in well-paying jobs.

South Africa is one of the first countries to inaugurate the global NSFY initiative. The NSFY South African programme will focus on testing new models of community-based education and workplace-based learning. Lessons will be used to inform other local and international youth employment creation initiatives.

Hang Ho, Head of Philanthropy for Europe, Middle-East and Africa at J.P. Morgan, commented on the launch:

“Possessing the right skills is fundamental to young people’s ability to compete for quality jobs and create stable economic futures. Quality technical training and new models of workplace learning are key to enable young people to obtain essential skills and credentials for career success.”

Supported by J.P. Morgan, JET Education Services, the Catholic Institute of Education and the MSC Artisan Academy are piloting new training programmes in renewable energy, baking, merchandising and computing in priority settlements in Gauteng (Reiger Park, Ennerdale, Orange Farm), the Free State and Eastern Cape. An outcome of the NSFY initiative is for young people to be able to enter the labour market with marketable and relevant skills. The programme envisages benefiting 1,000 young people.

The NSFY launch in South Africa provided an opportunity for government, business, skills centres and civil society organisations to discuss the fundamental challenges of and potential solutions for the youth employment predicament, with a focus on workplace-based learning.

At the launch, Prof Peliwe Lolwana, a leading researcher in the field, challenged participants to consider innovative approaches to training for unemployed youth to work in the informal sector. According to Lolwana, most South Africans will rather be unemployed than employed in the informal sector. This leads to conflict when entrepreneurial foreigners take up this space. To provide greater context to her statement, Lolwana compared the “informality” in India, which is at 84%, while in South Africa this is only 33%.  The use and access of technology in training for youth that fall in this category was also highlighted as an important consideration.

Marc Hussey, Joint Senior Country Officer and Global Corporate Bank Head for J.P. Morgan in Sub Saharan Africa, closed the event by highlighting the implications of lack of workforce training on South Africa’s long-term development and “the critical need to increase labour market productivity and create better economic opportunity”. Hussey emphasised the global banking group’s approach to sustainable philanthropy that draws on local role players that work in partnership to support local communities, and specifically, unemployed youth. Key lessons from NSFY will be taken to scale the pathways needed to develop new skills for youth in South Africa.


Catholic Institute of Education

Kelsay Corrêa

Tel: 011 433 1888

Mobile: 082 332 9373

Email: kelsay@cie.org.za


Catholic Institute of Education

Janice Seland

Tel: 011 433 1888

Mobile: 083 307 6264

Email: janice@cie.org.za


CIE supports poor Catholic schools in South Africa who have many desperate needs. We strive to give every child in our schools the education they deserve.