23 February 2018

BUSA reinforces need to focus on stimulating youth employment

Commenting on the release of the Harambee Breaking Barriers, February 2018 Outline, BUSA emphasised the importance of the country focusing its attention creating and enhancing sustainable youth employment.

During the course of last year, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) embarked on an extensive process that resulted in a Business Approach to Black Economic Transformation for inclusive growth. Youth employment was identified by business as a key element, alongside education and skills development, enterprise development and diversity at the workplace, required to grow the economy.

BUSA acknowledged the significant challenges facing young people in securing employment. “Given the high correlation between education and employment, it is a national imperative to put in place sustainable interventions to improve basic education outcomes. The Harambee report indicates that younger, low-income and female work-seekers; as well as youth without requisite job related and soft skills face disproportionately higher barriers in accessing employment. Access to work experience, regardless of the nature thereof, is key in overcoming such barriers and addressing the ongoing damage caused as a result of Apartheid policies. Business recognises that it needs to put its collective weight behind rapidly expanding youth employment opportunities in order to stimulate and grow our economy for the future”, stated BUSA CEO, Tanya Cohen.

BUSA stated that it was encouraged by the emphasis placed in the State of the Nation Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on youth employment.  A range of policy and practical interventions, with the support of all social partners, was required to lift youth employment opportunities, stated BUSA. In this regard, BUSA highlighted the importance of instruments such as the Employment Tax Incentive and learnerships, indicating that it was important to ensure that policy interventions were in place to set off the relatively higher costs of settling first time work seekers into productive employment. Fiscal space to support such interventions was key, stated BUSA. BUSA was encouraged by the willingness by Government to support institutions such as Harambee and the YES initiative, among many others, that sought to promote youth employment.