“Please give me a moment, I just need to find a quiet spot,” Lebo Nke, an executive at Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator began her interview with Fin24 in the bustling offices in central Johannesburg where hundreds of young people on any given day are polishing their CV’s, and learning interview skills.
“Harambee” is a Kiswahili word meaning “we win when we all pull together.” The organisation was established in 2011 by business and government to tackle the youth unemployment problem in South Africa. Early adopters include companies like Hollard and Nandos, who saw an opportunity to get excluded and unemployed youth into their entry-level jobs.
Nke, who heads up partnerships and advocacy efforts at Harambee, says there are many young people who have never been exposed to anyone with a formal job. “Young people don’t know enough about the world of work, it’s like a foreign place,” Nke said.
The unemployment stats, quarter after quarter, confirm the dire situation of unemployed young people. The most recent Statistics SA report for the last quarter of 2018 showed a moderate drop in the jobless rate, while the percentage of youth (15-34) not in employment, education or training rose to 38.9%, with the highest affected category being young black females. http://bit.ly/2VLjvNS