'This is a disaster': What must be done to address SA’s youth unemployment?

The job market is shrinking amid a struggling economy crippled by lockdowns and the COVID-19 pandemic, while the gap between skills shortages and access to training is widening.

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JOHANNESBURG - The country’s official youth unemployment rate currently stands at 46.3% and this figure is growing at an alarming rate.

The job market is shrinking amid a struggling economy crippled by lockdowns and the COVID-19 pandemic, while the gap between skills shortages and access to training is widening.

What needs to be done to address South Africa’s youth unemployment crisis?

702's Clement Manyathela, standing in for Bongani Bingwa, spoke to Ann Bernstein, Executive Director at the Centre for Development and Enterprise.

"The facts are these: In 2019, before the pandemic had hit, there were half a million fewer young people aged 15 - 24 than there was a decade before in 2008. But since COVID-19 struck, an additional one million fewer young people are working... South Africa's youth unemployment rate is at its worst ever with some 6.8 million young being unemployed. This is a disaster. I think it's fair to say this is no country for young people. South Africa has to change..."

Bernstein said unemployment has a great impact on how young people feel about themselves and life in general.

"If I were a young person and I lived in a community where few people have jobs... I would feel very despondent and from all our research we've seen young South Africans are desperate to get employed and they're trying everything they can."

Listen to the audio below for more.

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