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Nearly a million youth apply to be school assistants in Ramaphosa’s stimulus programme

The second phase of the Presidential Employment Stimulus programme has kicked off and already young people have applied for jobs.

South Africa has an official unemployment rate of 34.4% – it’s highest on record. There are 7.8 million jobless people, the majority of which are the youth.

The unemployment rate for youth- those aged between 15 and 24 years of age is 64.4%, while that of those aged between 25 and 34 is 42.9%, according to Stats SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the second quarter.

Through Phase 1 of the employment stimulus programme, 84% of the beneficiaries were young people, under the age of 35, and two-thirds were women, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter.

During a media briefing, last week, ministers expanded on plans of Phase 2 of the employment stimulus programme. R11 billion has been set aside for it.

The Basic Education Employment Initiative – which makes use of school assistants – was implemented in Phase 1 and given the extent of its reach, recruiting about 320 000 young people across 22 000 schools, it will be continued in Phase 2.

Over 940 000 young people have already applied to be school assistants for Phase 2, using the zero-rated recruitment platform,, Ramaphosa said.

“The use of new technologies in offering employment opportunities has made recruitment much easier, quicker and more transparent,” Ramaphosa said.

Phase 2 also supports the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention, with R838 million targeted to the programme, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi previously said.

“As part of the intervention, several young people will be recruited into a revitalised National Youth Service. Young people will receive training in digital skills and youth-owned enterprises will receive support to expand and hire,” Ramaphosa said.

Springboard for employment

Over half a million livelihoods have benefited from the first phase of the programme. “Participants were given the opportunity to earn a livelihood, to learn new skills and upgrade existing ones, and to use their experience as a springboard to get another job or to self-employment,” said Ramaphosa.

He noted that many of the school assistants in Phase 1 “found their way into employment” given the experience, training and references gained in the programme. Over 100 000 school assistants had received training. Of the surveyed school assistants, 94.2% said their participation was a positive experience, Fin24 previously reported.”Through this Presidential Employment Stimulus young people were employed to support and assist teachers in our schools. Others were employed to build bridges in rural communities. Many Early Childhood Development Centres were helped to survive and reopen. Subsistence farmers were supported to expand production, and environmental assets such as rivers and wetlands were restored and maintained.”President Cyril Ramaphosa

Participants of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure also managed to secure private sector employment by the end of March 2021, Ramaphosa noted.

Ramaphosa highlighted that Phase 2 would see the establishment of a Social Employment Fund – meant to support work for the common good of communities- such as urban agriculture, public art, informal settlement upgrading and community safety.

“Unemployment in our country is a crisis. We cannot afford endless delays in addressing this problem because of bureaucratic red-tape, outdated recruitment processes, lack of capacity and planning, or programmes that are short-lived or unsustainable,” he said.

The Presidential Employment Stimulus has shown that jobs can be created if all stakeholders – including labour, communities and government, work together, Ramaphosa added.

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