2020 Teens Dream - Sustaining Economic Growth in South Africa
My dream is to help youth residing in South Africa from the ages of 15-24 recover from the coronavirus pandemic and efficiently enter the job market with the skills and drive needed to prosper in a post-covid society. This goal addresses SDG #8 on decent work and economic growth. As of 2020, South Africa stands as the country with the highest youth unemployment rate in the world. The youth group constitutes one third of South Africa’s population and about 56% of youth are unemployed. Moreso, about 3.5 million youth were not engaged in employment, education or training (NEET) in the first quarter of 2020, indicating that South African youth face extreme difficulties engaging with the labor market. The high youth unemployment rate has habitually been one of the most pressing socio-economic problems in South Africa. Some of the young work-seekers lack sufficient skills and previous engagement with the work field they want to enter in and are easily discouraged by these basic demands of employers in the labor market. With the COVID-19 crisis still in existence, obtaining these skills and previous experience has become more difficult. The global pandemic has only exacerbated the ambition for South African youth to engage in the workforce. That is why I want to develop the virtual GEN Z RECOVERY PROGRAM and equip the youth of South Africa to realize their full economic potential. This program will act as a catalyst for sustainable economic growth, employment, and decent work for all, beginning in the region of South Africa. Though I, myself, am from the United States, I want to use the resources available to me and extend access through a virtual platform to the youth in South Africa. By partnering with adult professionals who have access to virtual communication in South Africa, the first step of this program is to create a space where groups of youth can safely engage with this program and connect with representatives from the United States. In the second step, paid professionals and volunteers will lead educational initiatives that will engage Gen Z folks in steps towards employment. Participants in this program will be provided with access to mentoring, workshops, and options on identifying career paths. New needs of the current pandemic require a new workforce. This program will educate youth with the knowledge and skills that match labor market needs. By designing a program focused on uplifting vulnerable communities such as the youth in South Africa, we are one step closer to revitalizing the global economy of a post-covid era.