Basic Package of Support
for young NEETs

41% of young people in South Africa between 15 and 29 years old fall in the NEET category. This means they are Not in Employment, Education or Training. “Most of the time I think, ‘Will we be stuck here forever? Society will draw us into the dangers of the world, like gangsterism. Will we be part of it or will we be the ones that get away?’ That’s the question we all ask ourselves.” These are the words of Lance van Eyslend, a young man from Bonteheuwel who dropped out of school, ruminating about his and his friends’ future.
Photo by Bart Love, July 2018

 
41% of young people in South Africa between 15 and 29 years old fall in the NEET category. This means they are Not in Employment, Education or Training. “Most of the time I think, ‘Will we be stuck here forever? Society will draw us into the dangers of the world, like gangsterism. Will we be part of it or will we be the ones that get away?’ That’s the question we all ask ourselves.” These are the words of Lance van Eyslend, a young man from Bonteheuwel who dropped out of school, ruminating about his and his friends’ future.
Photo by Bart Love, July 2018
 

What

The aim of the programme is to provide young people (aged 15 to 24) who are Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET) with support to  increase their life chances, by proactively offering them a well-targeted, holistic package of support that:

  • helps them understand available pathways (back) into education, training and work;
  • empowers them through referral to existing support services to connect to, take up and complete such pathways;
  • connects them to employment, education and training opportunities; and
  • keeps them connected to an opportunity over time through re-engagement when necessary.

Read more: Read the South African Labour and Development Research Unit’s description of the Basic package of Support project here.

“We need to unpack the different categories of young NEETs, and understand the nuances that create additional barriers to accessing support”

– BPS Civil Society Reference Group

45% of NEETs left school before they got to Matric. There are many push and pull factors that lead to a learner dropping out of school. “School dropout is not, as many assume, an instantaneous decision or the result of a single event. It is the result of a long process of disengagement; the culmination of a number of negative factors, such as little or no adult support, lagging behind academically, toxic school culture and so forth – it’s the moment when all these things that weigh a learner down finally forces them to sink.” – Zero School Dropout CampaignHuman Factor #1. A key pillar of the Basic Package of support is helping youth understand the available pathways back into education.
Photo by Max Bastard, September 2018

 
45% of NEETs left school before they got to Matric. There are many push and pull factors that lead to a learner dropping out of school. “School dropout is not, as many assume, an instantaneous decision or the result of a single event. It is the result of a long process of disengagement; the culmination of a number of negative factors, such as little or no adult support, lagging behind academically, toxic school culture and so forth – it’s the moment when all these things that weigh a learner down finally forces them to sink.” – Zero School Dropout CampaignHuman Factor #1. A key pillar of the Basic Package of support is helping youth understand the available pathways back into education.
Photo by Max Bastard, September 2018
 

Why

Young people’s lives in South Africa are marked by multiple vulnerabilities. Some of the challenges they face include income poverty, low educational outcomes, poor housing and unreliable or expensive transport options, poor physical and mental health, limited social networks and restricted access to the social grant system[1]De Lannoy A, Swartz S, Lake L & Smith C (eds) (2015) South African Child Gauge 2015. Cape Town: Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town.

At least 40% of all young people drop out of school before completing Matric[2]Zero-Dropout Campaign. (2020), School Dropout: The Pandemic Edition, Cape Town: DGMT; they enter the labour market without the necessary educational credentials and skills, and are often ill-equipped to navigate the complex social structures that determine access to employment. This transition also takes place at a time when young people age out of social protection they accessed when they were younger than 18 – such as the Child Support Grant, or still at school. Many fall out of social and economic systems entirely, and become invisible. Described as ‘NEET’, they are Not in Education, Training or Employment.

Young NEETs are at risk of longer term economic and social exclusion and in danger of scarring at this moment of transition into adulthood[3]Approximately 32% of young people between the ages of 15 to 24 are NEET in South Africa. More African and Coloured youth are NEET than White youth, and the proportion NEET is higher among females than males. Analysis of Community Survey data, QLFS data and, more recently, of National Income Dynamics Study data shows that the proportion of NEET increases as youth grow older. While there is some churn in the “NEET-state” – in other words, not everyone who is NEET at some point in time, remains NEET for the rest of their lives – significant proportions do remain NEET until later ages. (Branson et al. 2019) . With over 3 million NEETs between the ages of 15 – 24[4]Statistics South Africa. (2019). Quarterly Labour Force Survey Quarter 2: 2019. Retrieved from statssa.gov.za, responding to these young people’s challenges, in a holistic and inclusive way is a matter of national urgency. The need for an urgent national response has been compounded by COVID-19. The pandemic has highlighted how vulnerable young South Africans are, as they bore the brunt of job losses, and lost learning opportunities.

Figure 1: Breakdown of Young NEETs

Youth (15-29 years old), 41% are NEET

Rodney Mntambo received welding training as part of a training programme at the Don Bosco Skills Development Centre in Ennerdale. He was able to complete a learnership at a firm and is now looking forward to building a career and caring for his sister who is still at school and living with him. NEETs are at an disadvantage when trying to reconnect to education or career opportunities. Preference is often given to those that have just matriculated, graduated or that have some sort of work experience. Courses like the one Rodney completed, tailored for NEETs, is a way for them to join the workforce.
Photo by Bart Love, November 2018

 
Rodney Mntambo received welding training as part of a training programme at the Don Bosco Skills Development Centre in Ennerdale. He was able to complete a learnership at a firm and is now looking forward to building a career and caring for his sister who is still at school and living with him. NEETs are at an disadvantage when trying to reconnect to education or career opportunities. Preference is often given to those that have just matriculated, graduated or that have some sort of work experience. Courses like the one Rodney completed, tailored for NEETs, is a way for them to join the workforce.
Photo by Bart Love, November 2018
 

How

A multi-stakeholder consortium led by the Southern African Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) and the University of Cape Town has been working since 2019 to design a Basic Package of Support for young NEETs in South Africa.

The aim is to design a national, comprehensive package of support specifically targeted at young NEETS to help them (re)connect to the education system or to the labour market within a specified period of leaving school or work. The design draws inspiration from the European Youth Guarantee , which was designed in an urgent and radical response to youth unemployment and high rates of NEETs in Europe, but will be contextualised to fit the South Africa context.

The European Youth Guarantee (YG) is a commitment by all Member States to ensure that young people under the age of 25 receive a good quality offer of employment; continued education; apprenticeship or traineeship within 4 months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education. More than 5 million young people have registered in YG schemes each year since 2014[5]Read more about the European Youth Guarantee. Other countries outside of Europe investigating or implementing models that draw on similar principles to the Youth Guarantee include New Zealand, South Korea and Morocco[6]New Zealand is offering a Youth Guarantee that facilitates pathways into further education and training or employment.

South Korea is offering a 2020 Seoul Youth Guarantee which focuses on facilitating a youth allowance, jobs, housing, and facilities.
The Moroccan National Agency for Promotion of Employment and Skills (ANAPEC) launched Vision 2020 to better support young graduates, especially those in long-term unemployment, and expand the initiative to women and non-graduates. ANAPEC has also launched three programmes focusing on wage subsidies for unemployed graduates; youth training and entrepreneurship promotion through training and financial assistance.

In South Africa, different members of the consortium referred to above, have been designing various core aspects of the Basic Package of Support under the leadership of SALDRU. DGMT led multiple engagements with a number of civil society organisations working with young NEETs to design the tools and processes needed for the Basic Package of Support.  A civil society reference group was established comprising 19 organisations, and a total of four reference group sessions were convened to support the design process. The expertise and experience shared by civil society partners during these sessions has directed the design of the BPS tools and processes. We wish to thank all of our civil society partners (listed below) for their valuable contributions.

Watch a video about the Basic Package of Support project

Watch these videos to find out more about what South African youths face and need during the transition from education to employment.
Hear from both young South Africans and stakeholders involved in the project.

Progress

DGMT took responsibility for the design of the tools and processes, and facilitated four civil society Reference Group sessions with 19 civil society partners to develop this work. As a result of these consultations, the following tools were developed for further testing:

  • Coach’s Training Guide,
  • Coach’s Conversation Guide,
  • Referral Guide, Referral Directory,
  • Referral Tracker, and the
  • Young Person’s Journey Book.

DGMT commenced the testing phase of the work in February 2021.

The BPS programme will be piloted in Atlantis later this year, with support from UNICEF and the Western Cape Government.

Read more:

  • Read project summary report here.
  • Read the scoping report here.
  • Read the Basic Package of Support Policy Brief here.

References[+]