The Presidential Youth Employment Initiative implemented as the Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI) seeks to confront the devastating economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of government’s broader economic recovery agenda. It is a large scale public employment intervention targeting unemployed youth, who are 18 – 35 years old. The intervention also seeks to address the high levels of youth unemployment in South Africa.
Youth who are currently neither in education/training, nor receiving any form of government grant, as well as young people living with disability and women, are eligible and encouraged to apply for this enriching experience, when the application period is open. Candidates who are selected for placement will have an opportunity to receive training on various skills that will equip them for future employment opportunities.
All successful candidates will be placed in schools for 5 months, for the following available opportunities:
- Education Assistant - Curriculum
- Education Assistant - ICT/e-Cadres
- Education Assistant - Reading Champions
- General School Assistant - Child & Youth Care Worker
- General School Assistant - Handyman (no matric required)
- General School Assistant – Sports and Enrichment Agent (no matric required)
To qualify as an Education Assistant, you must have passed matric English, while an NQF Level 4, 6 and 7 qualification certificate, will be an added advantage. However, for placement as a General School Assistant, a matric certificate is not required for Infrastructure Support and Sports and Enrichment Agents, although Trade certificates will be an added advantage.
To work in the education environment, you must have a good ability to work with people, and within groups, have good communication skills and be a good listener and have interest in academics.
As part of the initiative, there is a strong emphasis on training participants, with a view to adding to their skills set, as well as setting them up for improved employment prospects. Young people recruited for the Basic Education Employment Initiative can expect to receive training in the following areas:
e-Cadres/ ICT Support
To work in IT, one has to be computer savvy and enjoy working on IT systems. The e-Cadres will add value in the classroom by assisting teachers and learners with troubleshooting of ICT equipment, and uploading educational content on learners’ and teachers’ devices. The need for this transformation is critical and timely, given that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need to move towards a digital future, where lessons can be provided virtually. When learners and teachers receive the right support for digital learning, the response is often noticeable. e-Cadres will be deployed in all public schools.
Child and Youth Care Workers (CYCW)
Child and Youth Care Workers (CYCW), will provide learners with much needed psychosocial support within a COVID-19 environment. Psychosocial support is critical, even on an elementary level, as it will assist in reducing the risk of learners dropping out of the system. It can also contribute to an improvement in learner behaviour and academic performance.
Reading Champions will contribute towards improving the culture of reading and literacy rates among learners. Reading Champions deployed in the Foundation Phase will also make a contribution towards improving early grade reading. In Phase I, Reading Champions assisted in reviving school libraries, initiating reading clubs and creating reading corners. This is in line with the sector priority on improving early grade reading.
There is continued focus to support schools in infrastructure maintenance. This will be done by allocating handymen to schools where they are most needed. These cadre of youth will be provided with the necessary training to ensure that they provide good quality work.
Learner Support Agents
Learner Support Agents will be appointed among the General School Assistants to support the implementation of sports, arts and culture activities in public schools.
Sports and Enrichment Agents
During Phase II of the initiative, a new category for young people who are keen in sports enrichment programmes was introduced. To participate as a Sports Enrichment Agent, one must be fit, active and have a keen interest to assist schools with facilitating cultural and sports activities.