The Third Phase of the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI), implemented as the Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI), is making excellent progress. As of 1 July 2022, Phase III is left with two months before coming to an end on 31 August 2022. Planning for Phase IV has commenced, with the month of July 2022 targeted at the marketing of requirements for job opportunities. The advertisement and application process for job opportunities will open during the month of August 2022. The entire recruitment process, advertisement and applications, will be managed by an independent partner - Harambee through the SA Youth Mobi platform. The placement of the new cohort is targeted for 1 February 2023. These job opportunities are for youth: from the ages between 18 and 34; youth residing in close proximity to the location of the schools; and youth interested in working and supporting teaching and learning. Those interested are encouraged to register with SA Youth Mobi at sayouth.mobi. It is important to highlight that Phase IV of the PYEI-BEEI is targeting a new cohort of youth, meaning youth that were placed during Phase I, II and III will not be considered.
To date, the PYEI in the Basic Education Sector has created more than 830,000 employment opportunities, thus making a meaningful contribution towards addressing the challenges of youth unemployment nationally. In addition, approximately 63% of the employment opportunities were occupied by women. This is a significant achievement in addressing the triple challenge of gender inequality, unemployment and poverty.
A key objective of the PYEI-BEEI is to provide the beneficiaries with meaningful work experience and learning opportunities to improve the employability of youth working as assistants in public schools across the country. The youth appointed in schools have gained invaluable experience, soft skills and competences by being part of a professional environment. Amongst these are team work, communication, leadership, self-confidence, resilience, collaboration, creativity, work ethic and time management.
It is worth noting that the PYEI-BEEI is an intervention that has transformed the lives of participating youth. It has provided them with a positive outlook on life and a sense of self-worth. They feel valued and have an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to society. It also exposes them to a wholesome and enriching professional teaching and learning environment, order, discipline and work ethics. Schools have administration offices where the assistants may be exposed to administrative tasks and financial management; school libraries expose them to the possibility of becoming librarians and the importance of books and reading; computer labs expose youth to the world of ICT and how it can be integrated into teaching and learning.
Some youth had the opportunity to assist learners that require care and support to develop virtues such as patience, tolerance, acceptance and humility. It can be concluded that the initiative in the Basic Education Sector provides more than just stipends – the valuable experiences that the youth receive for this short period is immeasurable. The youth are therefore encouraged to continue to use the opportunities presented to them to learn and gain various skills and competencies during their participation in the Initiative.
Training received was in Online Safety, offered by Digify Africa, Artificial Intelligence in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (AI in the 4IR) offered by the University of Johannesburg, and Digital Literacy, offered by the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (NEMISA). The skills, knowledge and competences gained through the training is invaluable in the 21st Century.
Youth who enrol for the Digital Literacy Training offered by NEMISA, will complete modules on Introduction to Digital Literacy, Microsoft Office, Cybersecurity and Digital Technologies. The training can be completed over a five-week period and is self-paced, after which the candidate will receive an accredited certificate. This training is compulsory for all youth employed as Education Assistants and General School Assistants. The training offered by Digify Africa is also self-paced and can be completed over three days. The course content includes Digital Literacy, Online Privacy, Misinformation and Disinformation, Fact Checking, Access to Information and Online Communities, Digital Tools and Advocacy and Making Change. The training provided through the above-mentioned partners comes at no cost to the youth, the schools, Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) or the DBE. It is worth noting that some of the training can be accessed on zero rated platforms, provided by training partners.
The DBE advises youth placed in schools to seize the opportunities offered during their placement, being it information about bursaries, scholarships, employment or funding for entrepreneurship. For additional information on possible opportunities, the youth are requested to join the Teacher Connect WhatsApp on 060 060 3333.