Aug 2012

International Labour Organisation tackles youth employment

International relations

International Labour Organisation tackles youth employment

Up to 75 million young people be- tween the ages of 15 and 35 are facing the crunch of unemployment and under-employment world-wide. This is according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which recently held its 101st Session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva.

“This means that ... young people are not contributing to the fiscus [the state’s income] through taxes and helping to grow the economy,” said a statement issued by the South African Department of Labour.

The department said these were some of the challenges that the ILO was grappling with at the Geneva conference.

“The crisis means that instead, it is the responsibility of governments to ensure that there is a social protection and support for those who are out of employment.”


Free basic education

Recommendations from the ILO include time-bound national youth action plans for employment, credible commitment to tack- ling the challenge of lasting youth employment, coordination of key players around a common platform of action and youth employment policies that address not only unemployment, but also focus on quality of jobs for youth.

The ILO further suggested that on a long-term basis, governments should ensure free quality basic education as a durable solution to youth unemployment.

It said focus should also be placed on policies that strengthen the link between education and training systems and the workplace to address the mismatch between educational outcomes and labour market requirements.

Labour Minister Nelisiwe Oliphant, who attended the conference, has pledged government’s commitment as part of South Africa’s obligation to create jobs and grow the economy.

One of the interventions that is spearhead- ed by the Department of Labour is the series of Jobs Fairs in different parts of the country.

“This is an opportunity for employers to meet potential employees. It means we are responding to the matching of skills with the needs of the labour market and thereby helping in mitigating the rife unemployment, especially among young people,” Minister Oliphant said.

The ILO also recommended that more focus should be placed on giving a second chance to early school leavers and those who never had educational opportunities.

Social partners are also urged to develop strategies to promote youth entrepreneur- ship and business development, such as making finance and mentors more accessible. In addition, entrepreneurship curricula should also become part of early education.

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