The latest Stats SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey, showed that nearly 6-million young people are unemployed, representing 43,37% of young people in the labour force and one of the highest rates in the world.
A new initiative has been launched to tackle this chronic problem; Jobs Boost, a R300 million outcomes fund that has been designed and launched by research-led consulting house Krutham. The funding covers the first pilot phase and is expected to scale thereafter. The innovative programme, the largest of its kind globally, will work with implementing partners to train unemployed, previously excluded youth and secure sustainable, quality jobs for them.
Part of the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention (PYEI), the Jobs Boost Outcomes Fund is distinct in that it introduces an outcomes-based pay-for-performance model that ensures funds are allocated only upon reaching defined milestones. The National Skills Fund, part of the Department of Higher Education and Training is the sole outcomes funder for the pilot phase.
“The Jobs Boost Outcomes Fund shifts the risk of creating jobs from the public sector to the private sector. The model incentivises our partners to work with employers to ensure that they develop young people who are able to thrive in the workplace,” explains Dr Stuart Theobald, founder and executive chairman at Krutham. “Instead of spending on skills development that may or may not lead to a job, the spending is focused on the job itself,” he says.
Traditional approaches to job creation tend to focus on inputs and activities, such as training, workshops, or events. This has resulted in large numbers of youth undergoing skills development but not necessarily finding meaningful work, often because training is not aligned with the needs of employers.
Similarly, work experience programmes have created a revolving door of internships where youth are entered into successive internship programmes, sometimes with meagre remuneration, and still not achieving meaningful work placements.
The funding grants will be released in tranches, based on the achievement of specific milestones verified by an outcomes auditor, including enrolment in the programme, job placement, and sustained employment over three months and then six months.
The pilot phase sets a precedent in government grant-making for skills development and is poised to impact the youth employment landscape significantly. A non-profit company, Employment Outcomes NPC, has been established by Krutham as the fund manager.
The programme is open to various organisations, including NGOs and training companies, that can effectively implement strategies to place eligible youth in quality jobs. These jobs are defined by their full-time status, contracts for a minimum of 12 months, compliance with employment laws, and remuneration at or above the minimum wage. Candidates must be 18-34, must have been an attendee of a quintile 1, 2, or 3 public school or been a beneficiary of the Child Support Grant (CSG), with education no higher than Matric.
From 20 November, prospective implementation partners are invited to submit expressions of interest through the Jobs Boost website, followed by detailed proposals if shortlisted. Partners should not be employers themselves; however, they may have a formal relationship with employers to ensure successful placement. The selection will be based on a transparent and consistent evaluation process, focusing on the realism of proposals, job targets, and value for money. The deadline for expressions of interest is 14 December and a virtual workshop will be held for those interested on 4 December.
“We hope that Jobs Boost will help to create a sustainable and prosperous future for the country’s youth, transforming the youth employment landscape and setting a global example of innovation and collaboration,” says programme director Riyaadh Ebrahim. “We look forward to working with a diverse range of implementation partners to create jobs and ensure youth are well able to do them.”