JobStarter is a mobile learning and career information platform created to address some of the structural barriers that undermine the potential connections between young people and post-school work and/or further education opportunities.
JobStarter aims to be the go-to information, learning and opportunity aggregator for youth.
Luthando Mzilikazi fell pregnant when she was in Grade 10, but did not give up on having a career. She went on to get two degrees and is now a Business Analyst at Allan Gray. Read Luthando’s story here.
With 66% of the population under the age of 35STATSSA. 2016. Mid-year population estimate., children and young people lie at the heart of South Africa’s untapped potential. Yet, more than 30% of young South Africans between the ages of 15-24 are not in any form of employment, education or training (NEETs); 46% of 25-34 year olds fall into the same categoryThe Department of Higher Education and Training. 2017. Fact Sheet on NEETs.. This equates to approximately 7.6 million young people out of work, education or training opportunitiesIbid..
Given the country’s worsening economic situation, if we do not take action soon, a significant proportion of our potential young talent pool will never have a decent job. While substantial, long-term action is needed to tackle the youth unemployment crisis, there are several key constraints we can address in the short term to help young people improve their prospects now. These constraints are:
At the heart of these constraints is the divided nature of our economy, in which the vast majority of young people may be able to access some level of basic educational opportunities, but remain disconnected from the informational and social capital networks that could support them to successfully seek work or further education. Not having these networks means that most young people face an impossibly tough reality when searching for work: they either cannot afford to look for work consistently (a recent study estimated that job-seekers spend an average of R557.98 per month looking for work)Graham L et al. 2016. Youth assets for employability: An evaluation of youth employability interventions, Baseline Report, Siyakha Youth Assets; they lack the information necessary to make smart and strategic choices; and/or they have few avenues to help prepare them for the world of work, or to signal their work readiness to employers. Employers similarly struggle to differentiate between the thousands of candidates putting themselves forward.
In his first State of the Nation Address in 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa recognised youth unemployment as our “most grave and pressing challenge” as South Africans. In response, he committed to creating large-scale internship, apprenticeship and learnership opportunities for young people. JobStarter sees itself as playing a significant role in informing, supporting and connecting young people to such opportunities.
JobStarter seeks to overcome these critical blockages in young people’s transitions from school to work and/or further education opportunities through five key pillars:
Siyabonga Mbaba is an artist from Khayelitsha who failed matric, but went on to start a non-profit organisation to support other young people: “I wouldn’t say I had a role model. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to start my own thing. I want to be the mentor I never had”. Read Siyabonga’s story here.
There is a great need for the mentoring of young people in South Africa. Read more about how to support youth through the difficult transition to adulthood here.
Download DGMT’s mentoring/coaching toolkit here.
Since its launch in 2016, JobStarter has enjoyed several major milestones – including the development of its website and social media platforms – to provide comprehensive information to young people regarding pathways to work, work readiness, as well as education and training opportunities. Foundational work-readiness m-learning modules and assessments have been created for Orientation to the Workplace, and Communication and Numeracy in the Workplace; and an employer portal has been developed for use by HR practitioners and opportunity providers.
Below, we reflect on a few key indicators of JobStarter’s progress to date:
Recent research indicates that the greatest proportion of young people who are NEETs is concentrated in the 21-25 year age rangeGraham L et al, 2016. Youth assets for employability: An evaluation of youth employability interventions, Baseline Report, Siyakha Youth Assets. The overwhelming majority of JobStarter’s users are concentrated in this demographic. In addition, almost 80% of JobStarter’s users across all platforms (including social media) are female, where vulnerability is concentrated.
Age distribution of JobStarter’s users:
|Proportion of users||10.6%||54.3%||30%||2.8%|
Most (88%) of JobStarter’s users have a Grade 12 qualification. While research shows that people with less than a Grade 12 education are more likely to fall into the NEET category, the second highest proportion of people who are NEETs in South Africa (3.8 million peopleDepartment of Higher Education and Training, 2017. Fact Sheet on NEETs) have a Grade 12 education, and still struggle to access further opportunities.
By the end of 2018, 25 000 young people were registered as candidates on the platform. To become a ‘candidate’, website users are required to complete three assessments so that their profiles become visible to employers. These assessments comprise an ‘Introduction to the Workplace’, ‘Numeracy in the Workplace’, and ‘Communication in the Workplace’. Young people typically did not complete all three assessments, but in 2018 – through engagement and a targeted communication strategy – JobStarter increased the number of user assessments completed by 58%, up from less than 10% in 2017.
In 2018, JobStarter also managed to secure 500 employment/educational opportunities for candidates.
While JobStarter provides its m-learning modules and other services for free, accessing the platform does incur some data costs on the user, as charged by their network provider. As such, JobStarter has tried its best to keep data usage as low as possible – it takes only 17MB to complete all the compulsory modules.
Read more: Zero-rating Mobile Services: An easy win that can significantly boost socio-economic development.
(A DGMT project profile page).
References [ + ]
|1.||⇧||STATSSA. 2016. Mid-year population estimate.|
|2.||⇧||The Department of Higher Education and Training. 2017. Fact Sheet on NEETs.|
|4.||⇧||Graham L et al. 2016. Youth assets for employability: An evaluation of youth employability interventions, Baseline Report, Siyakha Youth Assets|
|5.||⇧||Graham L et al, 2016. Youth assets for employability: An evaluation of youth employability interventions, Baseline Report, Siyakha Youth Assets|
|6.||⇧||Department of Higher Education and Training, 2017. Fact Sheet on NEETs|
|7.||⇧||How long do users stay on web pages?|