Youth unemployment has been described as a ticking time bomb in South Africa. "We have 9.2 million unemployed youth," says Adri Marais, CEO, Christel House South Africa. The school's new Youth Bridge program provides a pathway to help job-seekers.
Youth Bridge supports unemployed youth (15 to 35-year-olds) and helps them bridge the gap between their undiscovered ambitions and abilities and the career opportunities that await them. It draws on lessons from Christel House South Africa's successful efforts over the past 22 years to support vulnerable youth to secure gainful employment.
The school engaged with experts on how to create sustainable and viable solutions around our new Youth Bridge Initiative. Key themes include the perceived disconnect and mismatch of expectations between the youth and the South African industry, potential strategies that businesses and entrepreneurs can implement to generate new employment opportunities, how youth who come from vulnerable communities can be better supported and, most importantly, how a character-based, career-focused approach will support young work-seekers in their career journey.
The program provides unemployed youth the opportunity to engage in a 6-month program that includes full-time intensive contact sessions, bolstered by 4.5 months of longitudinal support and mentorship. Participants receive character development lessons, computer training, financial literacy education, career etiquette, establishing a career path and a psychometric assessment to assist in finding their passion. Mentors connect graduates to further education opportunities to improve their skills and employability and eventually match them with potential employers.
“Youth Bridge recognises the challenges that the emerging workforce faces in not only securing employment opportunities but also in maintaining positions that offer growth potential for career advancement. Our role is to act as the unifying force, which brings our partners and youth together for a common purpose – to make a meaningful impact in the lives of the next generation,” said Ayanda Mvandaba, Managing Partner of the program.