A deep dive into the NEET rate and overall youth unemployment scenario in 2023, highlighting the changes and trends in the first quarter. The reality is that our youth are left behind! As per Stats SA’s QLFS report approximately 10.2 million people aged 15 to 24 were not in employment, education or training, with a concerning 36,1% identified as NEET.

In April 2023, amid South Africa’s Freedom Day celebrations, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that R2 trillion has been set aside to address youth unemployment. He said the financial boost would essentially eradicate youth unemployment.

“Having surpassed our investment target for the last five years, we are now working with all social partners to create conditions for businesses – both big and small – to thrive,” he added. At the time, he said South Africans must “hold each others’ hands and build this country, so we get out of the challenges we are facing”.

The SACBW’s Nelspruit Branch has hosted an annual youth day for the past seven years to commemorate National Youth Day in South Africa.

Initiated by Estelle Roe in 2016, the event started quite small, with 5 speakers and 50 youth attending. The objective from the onset was to utilise key business people to inspire and motivate the youth to be more productive in the workplace. Various tips are given each year from key industries to empower youth who are often from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. Topics that are discussed include financial tips, requirements for job interviews, diversity and inclusiveness, social media impacts, health and productivity, building your own brand, legal tips around confidentiality, POPI act, etc., and this year how AI can benefit the youth.

The event has grown during the past years with 2023 culminating in 180 youth and 13 speakers at an event that incorporated a live Facebook feed and wonderful media coverage in local press. The event was well supported by the Mayor’s office as well as the Kruger Lowveld Chamber of Business and Tourism, each contributing to the day with their speakers. In addition, the event also actively included speakers from Mpumalanga University, TUT and Unigrad, and local private businesses who spent their morning motivating the youth.

The event is possible due to various sponsorships received from businesses.  Southern Sun and Emnotweni Arena sponsored the venue, eats and drinks for speakers and youth and various other sponsors ensure sound and other requirements are in place to provide a successful day.

The vision for this annual event is to encourage more SACBW branches to host a similar event on the same day nationwide and to get approximately 1000 youth involved hat can benefit from the input of businesses, municipalities, and educational facilities.


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