Friday 7 September 2018

Innovative Campaign to Support Youth Employment Targets the Public TVET College Sector

Many of you may have heard of the likes of Harambee, Mentec, Careerbox, the EOH Youth Job Creation Initiative and the Impact Sourcing Academy in the ongoing discussions about South Africa's youth unemployment crisis.
The WorkFit Campaign
These organisations reflect new approaches to supporting youth employment by crafting a much closer link with employer talent needs, than is commonly seen in public education systems around the world.

While many people would agree that employment is not the sole purpose of education, an education system that fails to result in at least some form of employability for its students is surely failing them (and the country that funds it) on a fundamental level.

The Rockefeller Foundation supported significant research into the causal dynamics of youth unemployment and developed an initiative - Digital Jobs Africa - that tackled both the supply-side and demand-side features of this phenomena.

Many government led initiatives to reduce youth unemployment focus only on the supply-side dimension (education and incentives) because the demand-side dimension (recruitment and enterprise development) is typically in the hands of private sector stakeholders who hire new entrants to the workforce and expand business operations.

Digital Jobs Africa tackled both the supply and demand dimensions of youth unemployment across 6 African countries between 2013 - 2017, with an emphasis on placing high potential, but disadvantaged youth, into entry level digital jobs.
The initiative was successful in co-ordinating a wide range of stakeholders towards a common purpose and deploying a research-based shared methodology with a clear business case.
However the public education system in South Africa could not directly participate in DJA due to the novel and complex nature of the changes it would have required of them, in a short period of time.

Fortunately for our public TVET colleges, the DJA initiative has given South Africa a toolkit and a campaign to help them understand how they can adapt their college environments and programmes to develop greater youth employability. The WorkFit Campaign runs from November 2017 - June 2018 and offers a free download of the WorkFit Toolkit, to guide colleges in understanding demand-driven training. 

The Toolkit is based on a research framework developed by studying the best practices of the top ten global demand-driven training providers (the organisations mentioned at the top of the article are four of those organisations), and is available as a free download from

If you are part of the broader youth employability ecosystem, you can follow WorkFit on LinkedIn and Twitter for updates, and if you are a TVET college lecturer or support staff, be sure to attend one of their monthly public workshops on the Toolkit.

Making Cents International developed the Demand Driven Training Toolkit (DDTT) with support from the Rockeller Foundation. The WorkFit Toolkit is the local adaptation of the DDTT. You can visit the global version of the Toolkit here and can find more information on MCI's work here.