The ‘State’ Of Our Education System In The Technology Age And How That Translates Into Employment
by Jill Young


In this opinion piece Jill Young argues that one of the most effective ways to break the poverty and unemployment cycle is through education, however, the education system in South Africa is not working as a stepping stone to preparing South Africa’s matriculants and graduates for the working world. Jill points this out to SA’s digital industry arguing that digital solutions opens up opprtunities for a multitude of services including ones, like the EvenME portal she founded, that act as a bridge between the current schooling system and our unemployed youth. Jill contends that with the right policies, digital learning is a potential game changer in terms of equalising access to education, since access to the internet in South Africa has been exponential over the last few years, especially in terms of people accessing the internet via mobile phones. She believes that not only can digital learning make a real difference to the lives of the millions of South African youth so desperately in need, but it can also position our country as a beacon of hope for the billions of under-educated but highly motivated learners across the globe that are being let down by their education systems.

Jill Young

Jill Young is the Co-owner and founder of EvenMe, an innovative online portal and App that provides access to youth career and development support. Jill is also the founder and director of corporate fundamentals (Pty) Ltd and the owner of Unique Soles. She previously worked as an employee communications developer for Nokia (2012); as the head of Internal Communications Middle East and Africa for Nokia (2010); and the Marketing Manager: Brand Sponsorship and Events (Activation Manager) for Nokia (2007) She was the Project manager at Makwetla and Associates; formerly the CEO of the National Delphic Council.

Obstacles and Opportunities for Youth Entrepreneurship A Co-ordinated Approach Critical to Promote Youth Entrepreneurship
By Jacqueline Kew


In this article Jacqueline Kew argues that in South Africa, the formal and public sectors have not created enough employment, and as such focuses on the critical importance of promoting entrepreneurship, enterprising behaviour, and an enterprise culture that supports aspirations of self-employment. A common diagnostic Kew believes, by among others, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), has been that start-up finance is inadequate and should be supplemented. However, Kew also underscores the importance of inserting financial literacy and entrepreneurial training earlier on into the school system; the critical need for improvements in maths and science education; and skills development that allows young entrepreneurs to excel beyond merely establishing necessity or survival businesses.

Jacqueline Kew

Jacqui Kew is an Associate Professor at the College of Accounting (UCT) and teaches on various Executive Short Courses at UCT’s Graduate School of Business. She is the Principal author of Financial Accounting: An Introduction and is Project Director of, a free multi-lingual College of Accounting initiative offering short concept videos on accounting-based topics. She is also involved in entrepreneurial research and regularly co-authors the South African Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.

Create Entrepreneurs Instead of Tenderpreneurs
by Erica Penfold


This article highlights some of the most pressing challenges in youth unemployment, which include inadequate education, the legislative environment and focused entrepreneurship training. Moreover, it reflects on the challenges posed by a constraining global economic climate, the role of the government and underscores how critical it is to generate greater momentum towards supporting small business ventures. It also argues that, whether we create entrepreneurs, who through their ambition and skill create growth, employment and more sustainable livelihoods, or tenderpreneurs, who seek to sway government procurement with money rather than ability, will depend on the extent to which government procurement is subjected to proper transparency and accountability practices.

Erica Penfold

Erica Penfold is currently a freelance researcher and a PhD candidate in the Politics Department at Stellenbosch University. She was previously employed as a research fellow with the South African Institute of International Affairs. She has worked for non-profit organisations and civil society, including Global Integrity, Management Sciences for Health and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation. She has been involved in a number of research projects across Africa, with particular focus on global health governance. Her research interests are regionalism, Southern Africa’s international relations, access to health care and medicines, democratic reform and development.

The financial crisis and its enduring legacy for youth unemployment
by Neil Rankin, Gareth Roberts, Volker Schöer and Debra Shepherd


Young people are generally on the fringes of the labour market. They lack work experience and networks that can help them get jobs. If employed, their employment status is often tenuous – they are on temporary contracts, are frequently the first to be retrenched in times of economic hardship, and are in the types of firms or sectors most sensitive to fluctuations in the economy. For these and other reasons, they are dispro-portionally affected when the economy slows down.

Debra Shepherd

Having completed her undergraduate studies at Stellenbosch in 2005, Debra passed her Bcomm Honours and Mcomm degree Cum Laude in 2007 and 2009 respectively. Debra was employed as a junior lecturer and researcher in the Economics Department at Stellenbosch from 2008 to 2011, she was also a researcher at the African Micro Economics Research Unit based at the University of the Witwatersrand. Currently she works as an economics lecturer at Stellenbosch University. She was also a VU-NRF Desmond Tutu Doctoral Scholarship candidate, where she completed her PhD in Development Economics through Vrijie Universiteit Amsterdam and Stellenbosch University. Her thesis focused on the Analysis efficiently and effectiveness within the South African education system.

Volker Schöer

Volker Schöer is a lecturer in economics at the University of the Witwatersrand. He holds a MA in economics from the University of Cape Town. Volker’s research investigates worker and firm dynamics with particular focus on job matching, and education. He is also the director of the African Micro-Economic Research Unit (AMERU) at the University of the Witwatersrand. The AMERU focuses on micro-econometric analysis of South African labour force and firm level data. Some of the latest projects of the AMERU include impact evaluation studies of a youth wage subsidy and various education interventions.

Gareth Roberts

Gareth is a lecturer at the School of Economics and Business Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand and has been a researcher at AMERU since 2008. His primary interest is in youth unemployment and he was most recently part of a team that implemented an evaluation of a targeted youth wage-subsidy voucher for the National Treasury of South Africa. Gareth also has extensive experience managing data collection and is currently the Impact Evaluation coordinator in South Africa for the World Bank’s Development Impact Evaluation Initiative (DIME).

Neil Rankin

Neil Rankin is an Associate Professor in Economics at Stellenbosch University. He holds a MA in Economics from the Simon Fraser University and completed his PhD in Economics at the University of Oxford in 2006. Neil is an applied micro-economist working in the areas of labour markets, firms, pricing, trade and impact evaluation. As part of his research he has managed and administered firm and labour market surveys in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda and Tanzania.

The State of Youth Unemployment in South Africa
By Morné Oosthuizen and Aalia Cassim
This paper is republished with the permission of the Brookings Institute


Youth unemployment has been inordinately high for many years in South Africa and is one of the country’s major socio-economic challenges.1 Cross-country comparisons regularly affirm that South Africa’s unemployment rates are among the highest in the world. In 2013, the youth unemployment rate was 63 percent of the youth labor force (3.2 million individuals) according to the expanded definition of unemployment, which includes as unemployed those who are not actively looking for a job (i.e., the non-searching unemployed, or “discouraged work-seekers”).

Morné Oosthuizen

Morné Oosthuizen is Deputy Director of the Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU) located within the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town. He joined the DPRU as a researcher in 2002 and holds an M.Comm. degree in Economics from the University of Stellenbosch. His research interests include intergenerational transfers, poverty, inequality, and labour economics. Morné is currently completing his PhD at the University of Cape Town on the topic of intergenerational transfers and National Transfer Accounts in South Africa.

Aalia Cassim

Aalia Cassim obtained an Honours degree from the University of Witwatersrand and a MSc in Development Economics from the School of Oriental and Asian Studies, University of London. Her expertise includes Competition and Regulatory Economic Consulting, Sustainable Education and Social Entrepreneurship. Prior to joining the Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU) at the University of Cape Town as a senior researcher in July 2013, Aalia worked in the Competition and Regulatory Practice at Genesis Analytics. Aalia left the DPRU to join the National Treasury in December 2015. At the DPRU Aalia worked in a number of areas including higher education, industrial policy, temporary employment services, minimum wages, youth unemployment, the informal sector and social welfare. She also undertook an exercise profiling labour markets in Tanzania and Zambia.