Piloting a youth job-creation project for The Sirius Development Foundation S&T was commissioned by the Sirius Development Foundation to draft an implementation strategy for an innovative job-creation project. S&T Senior Partner David Everatt outlines the challenges.
S&T has a long track-record in youth research, and Phatlalatsa
has carried a number of articles dealing with the youth sector. We were
approached by Sipho Shezi, Executive Director of The Sirius Development
Foundation, to help devise an implementation strategy for youth employment.
The approach adopted by Sirius is highly innovative. Working
through faith-based structures, the goal is to recruit out-of-school and
out-of-work youth, provide a wide range of inputs including lifeskills,
technical and other inputs, and then organise groups of youth to maintain
the assets provided by development and infrastructure delivery programmes.
In other words, where other youth employment-creation projects often fail
– namely linking youth to actual work opportunities – the Sirius approach
is to identify the employment opportunities in advance and negotiate an
agreement with the relevant District Council.
Moreover, the overall approach is one of service rather
than simple ‘entrepreneurship’. The use of faith-based organisations –
specifically the St Johns Faith Mission church – sets the tone for the
programme. The employment offered to graduates will also be service-related,
namely maintaining assets such as roads, community halls and others supplied
through government’s large development programmes.
The programme seeks to link two key issues: firstly, the
need to create employment opportunities for South Africa’s youth, especially
in poor rural areas, and secondly, the need to ensure that assets provided
by development programmes are maintained. Rather than see these as discrete
and separate ‘problems’, Sirius have linked them to see if we can generate
a highly creative solution.
S&T has been commissioned to undertake a formative evaluation
and draft an implementation strategy for the proposed programme. The first
phase of our project entailed re-analysing existing statistical data relating
to DC21, the site of the pilot. This was followed by in-depth interviews
with local leaders and stakeholders, which Senior Partner Moagi Ntsime
completed during October.
These two activities have helped us refine the target group,
identify key supporters and possible blockages. In the coming months,
S&T will be holding focus groups among the target group to help devise
a detailed training curriculum, while Sirius will negotiate the possibilities
of maintenance contracts for graduates of the programme. Future editions
of Phatlalatsa will keep readers informed of progress.