Let’s Get to Work – Partnerships for improving youth employment opportunities

Workforce Development: Let’s Get to Work – Partnerships for improving youth employment opportunities and economic inclusion

“As our number one priority please help us overcome the great unemployment challenge we have in our communities.” This was the crystal clear request from the newly elected community leadership of Gugulethu and Nyanga in September 2015. And so VPUU took the lead in organising a series of workshops with a wide range of stakeholders in partnership with the Gugulethu College of Cape Town initially, and more recently the UCT Mandela Initiative and the Salesian Institute. The strategy that evolved over 7 initial workshops is currently being used successfully by VPUU in areas where we work.

In the latest installment of the ‘Let’s Get to Work’ series, on Wednesday, 18 October 2017, Prof Tom Ryan facilitated a co-design workshop for addressing the challenge of youth unemployment by exploring ways to improve the level of employability of unemployed youth and NEETS at risk.

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3 sub-challenges were:

  • How might we design a system for assessing the employability of unemployed youth and NEETs and then connecting them to either opportunities for further education and training or employment opportunities?
  • How might we redesign the formal education and training system to increase the employability of unemployed youth?
  • How might we redesign the informal education and training system to increase the employability of the unemployed youth at risk (NEETs)

Goals of the day

  • Learn from each other and strengthen or develop some implementable programmes that will lead to improved employment and economic opportunities for young people
  • Explore ways to work effectively with the TVET and business sectors
  • Meet people with shared interests from a wide range of organisations

The main presentation on design thinking and how complex systems work, as well as the conceptual work of the groups is available here. Some of the outcomes of the workshops held since October and other resource materials from participants are available here, and more will be added over time.


Workshop Facilitators

The workshop was facilitated by Prof Tom Ryan, Emeritus Associate Professor UCT, an experienced facilitator who uses systems thinking and design thinking approaches. One of the models we worked with included CIMO – Context, Interventions, Mechanisms and Outcomes. Tom is currently working with the Salesian Institute on several programmes around skills development, incubators, mindset issues, using facilitated MOOCs, learnerships, entrepreneurship development, etc.

Prof Johann Maree, Emeritus Professor of Sociology UCT, and currently involved with UCT Mandela Initiative, was part of the previous workshops and has a strong interest in strengthening the TVET sector and its links to industry. Johann was one of the founders of CLOTEX and his recent Mandela Initiative work in Job Creation through Skills Development has had him lead and/or be involved in many skills training, small business development and employment creation events around the country. Johann has looked extensively at the linkages Germany is able to make between industry and technical training institutions and he is keen to promote similar linkages in South Africa.

Achmat Gafieldien, Hester Carollisen and Louis van Niekerk of the College of Cape Town have been strong supporters of this work and are trying to find innovative ways to strengthen their programmes and linkages through the workshops and networks, especially for young people in Nyanga, Gugulethu and nearby communities.

Who was involved?

The 45 participants came from business, government, academia (university and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges), public benefit organisations (PBOs)/non-governmental organisations (NGOs), entrepreneurship development organisations and unemployed youth.  They were mixed and divided into 6 working groups  addressing the three above mentioned challenges.

  • Academic Institutions (12): Tom Ryan (UCT, Salesian Institute); Johann Maree (UCT, Mandela Initiative); Achmat Gafieldien (Guguletu College of Cape Town); Hester Carolissen (Guguletu College of Cape Town); Francis Wilson (UCT, Mandela Initiative); Rulaine Cunningham (Northlink College); Judy Favish (UCT, Mandela Initiative); Karen Daniels (Guguletu College of Cape Town); Karin Hendricks (False Bay College); Deon Haols (Guguletu College of Cape Town); Nathaniel Masiza (Guguletu College of Cape Town); Athi Matinise (UCT Careers Services)
  • Business (9): Donette Pillay (Intercept Consulting); Deon Pokpas (3 Kilo Development Agency); Errol Freeman (Lulaway); Andile Mkhosana (Lulaway); Isabella Hlabangu (SA German Chamber of Commerce and Industry); Estelle Williams (Imvusa); Elaine Snyman (Imvusa); Robert Bloom (Design Thinking Group); Neville Kleinhans (Industries Education and Training Institute)
  • Government (6): Rahima Loghdey (WCG, Department of Economic Development and Tourism); Carlo Vizzi (City of Cape Town, Area Economic Development – Business Support); Caylin Robain (WCG, Department of Economic Development and Tourism); Robert Davids (WCG, Department of Economic Development and Tourism); Fabian Sitzer (Drakenstein Municipality, Local Economic Development); Chris O’Connor (City of Cape Town, Mayor’s Urban Regeneration Programme)
  • Public Benefit/Non-profit Organisations (9): Hilton Nyirenda (Salesian Institute); Mbuyi Jongqo (Salesian Institute); Janet Jobson (DG Murray Trust); Wayne May (Amandla Edufootball); Busiswa Dayimani (Ikamva Youth); Emily Rudolph (Unlockd); Hélène Roussouw (Afrikan Tikkun); Lelethu Tshofuti (VPUU); Don Shay (VPUU)
  • Youth (6): Sabelo Zenzile (SNAC – Lotus Park, LYNDF); Mkhululi Thando Manciya, SNAC – Lotus Park, Elason Pro-|Active Choir; Qalanto Nwabisa (Leaders of Change – Harare, Boxgirls SA); Anele Gwente (Leaders of Change – Monwabisi Park, Audio Visuals); Thembisa Ngamlana (Boxgirls SA); Sivu Watermeyer (SeeView Consulting)
  • Entrepreneurship Development (2): Amanda Dinan (Fetola); Vanessa van der Heyde (Sustainability Institute)
  • Public Private Partnerships(1): Vanessa Taylor (Swiss-South Africa Cooperation Initiative)

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For more information contact info@vpuu.org.za.


Workforce Development Power Point Presentation 

Workforce Development Strategy Document