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close this bookThe Transition of Youth from School to Work: Issues and Policies (IIEP, 2000, 188 p.)
close this folderChapter V. Youth and work in South Africa: issues, experiences and ideas from a young democracy by Adrienne Bird
View the documentIntroduction
View the document1. Unemployment and recession
View the document2. Social dimensions of unemployment
View the document3. Government responses to unemployment
View the document4. School and skill issues for young people
View the document5. Government responses - education and training
View the document6. What does this all mean from the perspective of a young person?
View the documentConclusion


South Africa held its first democratic election in April 1994. From this vantage point it is possible to look both back and forward. Looking back does not just mean looking at the apartheid heritage, but at shifts which have occurred since 1994. It is therefore possible to begin to evaluate the short-term impact of the new government's interventions. Looking forward reveals the imperative to prioritize and plan optimum-impact implementation measures against a daunting range of challenges is all too clear.

This paper starts by providing an overview of the labour market and the position of young people within it. The analysis does not provide a highly textured understanding of the social position of young people, but even an overview is not complete without some consideration of the effects of HIV/AIDS and poverty. The paper then describes the education and training system and outlines the ways it is being moulded to support economic and employment growth and social development in the country.

Against this backdrop, the conclusion provides some reflection on policy implementation challenges which lie ahead and some of the ideas under discussion.