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Date: 12 Jun 2012
Title: ILO tackles issue of unemployed youth
Pretoria - The International Labour Organisation (ILO), which is currently holding its 101st Session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva, says up to 75 million young people between the ages of 15 and 35 are facing the crunch of unemployment and under-employment.
"This means that ... young people are not contributing to the fiscus through taxes and helping to grow the economy," said a statement issued by the South African Department of Labour.
The department said these were some of the challenges that the ILO was grappling with at its annual conference in Geneva currently underway.
"The crisis means that instead, it is the responsibility of governments to ensure that there is a social protection and support for those who are out of employment."
To mitigate against this challenge, governments should enhance fiscal and institutional capacities to undertake timely and targeted policies to reduce macro-economic volatility.
As a result ILO has urged time-bound national youth action plans which are pro-employment, credible commitment to tackling the challenge of durable youth employment, measurable outcomes developed with the involvement of social partners (workers, employers and government), ensure coherence of youth employment measures and inter-institutional coordination of key players around a common platform of action and youth employment policies that address not only unemployment but focus on quality of jobs for youth and reducing vulnerabilities.
Discussion on the youth employment crisis dates back to 2005 when the International Labour Conference resolved to urge governments to work on: employment and economic policies, employability, education, training and skills and the school-to-work transition, labour market policies, youth entrepreneurship and self-employment, and rights for young people.
On a long-term basis, ILO suggested that governments should also ensure free quality basic education as a durable solution to youth unemployment.
It said focus should also be placed on policies that strengthen the link between education and training systems and the world of work to address the mismatch between educational outcomes and the labour market requirements.
Labour Minister Nelisiwe Oliphant, who is attending the conference, has pledged South African Government's commitment as part of the country's obligation of creating jobs and growing the economy.
To this end, one of the interventions that is spearheaded by the Department of Labour is the series of Jobs Fairs around the country.
"This is an opportunity for employers to meet potential employees. This means we are responding to the matching of skill to the need of labour market and thereby help in mitigating the rife unemployment, especially among young people," she said.
The ILO has also urged that focus should be on providing a second chance to early school leavers and those who never had the opportunity of having educational opportunities.
Further, social partners are urged to develop strategies to promote youth entrepreneurship through enabling environment, making finance accessible for the young entrepreneurs and mentorship for successful business development. Entrepreneurship curricula should also be embedded in early education. - BuaNews