Page 1

March 2010 Contents Featured Events st

March 24-27 - 21 Annual National Service Learning Conference San Jose, CA April 22 - Earth Day – Worldwide April 23-25 - Global Youth Service Day – Worldwide June 13-19 - 5th Global Youth Employment Summit Dalarna, Sweden July 7-10 - International Society for Third-Sector Research 9th International Conference - Istanbul, Turkey

Connect with ICP Visit our website for up-to-date news on youth service worldwide Read our blog Follow us on Twitter Have comments or suggestion? Email the editor at fox@icicp.org

Youth Service: A Promising and Growing Strategy for Youth Employment Youth Service Programs and Initiatives Advancing Youth Employability Worldwide Giving Back and Going Green in the United States National Youth Service as a Strategy to Address Youth Unemployment in South Africa Spotlight on Latin America: Service-Learning as an Opportunity for Employment Skills Building

Note from Susan Stroud, ICP Executive Director Beyond the immediate impacts of the current global recession, youth unemployment and underemployment has been an issue for several years. With young people constituting a large percentage of the population in many countries, and with the technological transformation of public and private sector organizations leading to a decline in some traditional occupations and new skill and knowledge demands in others, young people have faced significant challenges over the last decade in gaining the qualifications and opportunities to participate in the global workplace. That is why in 2006 ICP released our report on Service As a Strategy for Combating Youth Unemployment, proposing that high quality service opportunities provide a valuable path for young people to gain critical work skills and knowledge. As the survey starting on page 5 reveals, governments and organizations around the world are increasingly recognizing the link between youth service and employment and are implementing national youth service programs as a strategy to address the issue. The 9th Global Conference of the International Association for National Youth, to be held October 25-28 at the Library of Alexandria, Egypt, also promises to further explore youth employment in the context of national service opportunities. As we continue to discuss and analyze the impact of service in addressing youth employment, as ever I would welcome your comments and additional information and resources.


March 2010 Youth Service: A Promising and Growing Strategy for Youth Employment By Colleen Hammelman, ICP Program Associate Youth civic engagement strategies are promising tools for addressing growing rates of youth unemployment and ensuring young people gain the life and job skills necessary to succeed in securing long-term job prospects. As the International Labor Organization indicates, “Today‟s young people are the most educated generation ever. They have clear ideas about fulfilling their aspirations at work and in society and seek opportunities for personal autonomy and active citizenship.” Yet reports worldwide indicate that rates of youth unemployment continue to outpace growing overall rates of unemployment in the current recession. In the US, the Center for American Progress reports that minority workers, teens and less-educated workers have unemployment rates far above the national average. The latest available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in July 2008, 3.4 million young people in the United States were unemployed, representing the highest youth unemployment rate recorded for July since 1992 at 14%.A June 2009 report from the National Youth Employment Coalition notes that “an unprecedented „age twist‟ in employment rates occurred in the US over the past 8 years with older workers (55+) improving their employment rates strongly while teens and 20-24 year old males reached new post-World War II lows.” In many countries worldwide, young people represent the largest cohort in society yet experience some of the lowest employment rates. For example, the Middle East/North Africa region has an unemployment rate near 15%, the highest of any region in the world. Young people in the region experience even greater unemployment with average rates of 25%, far exceeding the world average of 14%. The Economist reported that in the UK, the class of 2009 is the most debt -ridden group of college graduates in Britain‟s history and is the least likely to find a job with unemployment rates among young people aged 18-24 rising to 17.3% over the past year. It is crucial to address the growing rates of youth unemployment not just for immediate employment outcomes, but also for the long-term negative effects of unemployment early in a young person‟s career. Another recent Center for American Progress report notes that young people who face unemployment often suffer the consequences long into the future. “Indeed, lifetime earnings are diminished with each missed year of work equating to 2 percent to 3 percent less earnings each year thereafter.” The International Labor Organization (ILO) expands on this in its Global Employment Trends for Youth (GET Youth 2008) publication. “It is because employment is so central to personal development and dignity that so much attention is spent on assessing the labour market development of young men and women. As stated in the GET Youth 2006, „A lack of decent work, if experienced at an early age, often permanently compromises a person‟s future employment prospects and frequently leads to unsuitable labour behaviour patterns that last a lifetime.‟”


March 2010 Youth Service: A Promising and Growing Strategy for Youth Employment

National service enhances employment prospects One strategy embraced by a growing number of governments is providing national service opportunities to young people. These opportunites engage young people in short-term employment opportunities that provide real benefits for a countryâ€&#x;s national development while providing participants with valuable, real-world skills that improve their employability in todayâ€&#x;s competitive labor markets. As illustrated in ICPâ€&#x;s 2006 report Service As a Strategy for Combating Youth Unemployment, youth who participate in organized community engagement programs are better positioned to find gainful employment. Through service opportunities, unemployed young people can participate in structured opportunities that apply their talents and abilities while building skills and habits that transfer to economic viability. Civic engagement programs of sufficient duration and sophistication can engage energetic young people in addressing critical needs such as environmental sustainability, public health and education, while also providing a mechanism for young people to build skills such as leadership, responsibility, decision-making, self-management, team-building and cooperation. Instead of feeling disempowered and alienated, young people engaged in service projects achieve a sense of purpose and accomplishment that counteracts pressures to get involved in unhealthy behaviors and sets them on the right track to participate in a productive and industrious workforce. In the United States, national service opportunities are being expanded to provide more young people (and people of all ages) with opportunities to engage their communities and build important skills. Internationally, more and more national youth service programs are engaging young people as they are developing the needed skills to find gainful employment. As such, the International Association for National Youth Service (IANYS), for which ICP serves as secretariat, will explore the connection between youth civic engagement and youth employment as a major theme of its 9th Global Conference on National Youth Service in Alexandria, Egypt from 25-28 October 2010. The IANYS Conference will provide an opportunity for practitioners and policymakers to discuss some of the most effective strategies for promoting workforce development and addressing youth unemployment through national youth service policies programs and service-learning in schools and universities. More information on this theme and others at the IANYS Global Conference will be available shortly at www.icicp.org/ianys Implementing effective programs Various service programs worldwide have been addressing youth workforce development for decades, whereas others are newer. Program profiles and interviews with experts for this newsletter brought to light some key components for successful programs.


March 2010 Youth Service: A Promising and Growing Strategy for Youth Employment

Some of these include developing multi-sectoral programs that engage various ministries and community stakeholders in formulating and implementing initiatives to address identified issues. These programs enable young people to contribute to various critical development needs while building on existing skills and interests attained throughout the course of their schooling. It is also important to ensure that the skills young people are gaining through national service programs are in line with job market demands. There is often a perceived gap in experience for young people which can be addressed with experience in national service activities as young people look for full-time, long-term employment. The ILO also indicates a need for employment policies and strategies that directly target young people. Some of these strategies include the “need to strengthen (or create) labour market institutions that help youth access jobs, avoid discrimination based on the „experience gap,‟ promote entrepreneurship and direct training toward market needs.” Many of these strategies can be addressed through effective national youth service programs. This newsletter presents a broad look at various national youth service programs targeted at helping young people prepare for employment while meeting critical national needs. We present a broad sampling of examples such as the National Service Scheme in Ghana established in 1969, the Philippines National Youth Service launched in 2009 and regional initiatives supported by the ILO. And there are many more examples of service serving as a promising strategy for supporting greater youth employment worldwide.

IANYS 9th Global Conference on National Youth Service SAVE THE DATE! The 9th Global Conference will be held October 25-28, 2010 at the Library of Alexandria Alexandria, Egypt Stay tuned for more information, including registration and preliminary agenda - http://www.icicp.org/ianys


March 2010 Youth Service Programs and Initiatives Advancing Youth Employability Worldwide By Veronika Schlecht, ICP Program Assistant Kenya - National Youth Service The Kenya National Youth Service (NYS) was launched in 1964 to mobilize and train young people in contributing to national development by undertaking important projects in health, disaster relief, construction and environmental preservation. NYS also aims to stimulate national cohesion and youth employment by engaging young people in service projects and providing relevant training. Japheth Mwania, Director of National Youth Service in Kenya, explained at the IANYS 8th Global Conference on National Youth Service, held in Paris in October 2008 that the vision of NYS Kenya is to be a world class institution in training and imparting skills, knowledge and attitude to young people, as well as in creating an environment where youth can learn and integrate into society. The NYS offers vocational trainings such as artisan, craft and diploma training to combine the practical experience with the skill training young people need to be well equipped to find employment after service completion. In a recent speech by Kenyan President Mwai Kibuki, the long term solution to unemployment in Kenya lies in equipping the youth with modern, market-driven technical and vocational skills. He recently announced that the government is planning to expand NYS projects and training programs to provide more Kenyan youth with opportunities to access technical training and acquire gainful employment. In addition to NYS, the government launched the Kazi Kwa Vijina (“Jobs for the Youth”) Programme (KKV) in March 2009 to enhance youth employment and to stimulate the national economic development of Kenya. The KKV programme is designed to employ at-risk youth in labor intensive projects within their communities in order to earn an income to support their families. Senegal - National Civic Service The National Civic Service (NCS), established in 1997, promotes citizenship and solidarity and provides moral and technical trainings to prepare service participants for a social and professional life. Young people aged 18 to 35 are recruited for a duration of 24 months to contribute to Senegal‟s national development and to obtain a sense of service to their communities. The NCS aims in particular at combating youth unemployment by providing young people the opportunity to gain hands-on job and training while working on projects that are important to Senegal‟s development, particularly in job sectors experiencing worker shortages such as health, education, and environmental preservation. So far, the NCS has implemented programs throughout the country and has recruited, mobilized and trained approximately 3,864 youth since its inception. Besides the NCS, Senegal‟s Ministry of Culture and Heritage, with the support of the Spanish Agency of International Development Cooperation, is addressing youth employment needs through a new project that engages unemployed youth in restoring historic buildings in the city of Saint-Louis as part of a larger training program. The program could serve as a


March 2010 Youth Service Programs and Initiatives Advancing Youth Employability Worldwide

good model for an active youth employment policy in Senegal, said Gora Gueye, Director of the training program. According to Gora Gueye, the innovative project responds to a study of the local market's needs that identified which sectors needed skilled workers and has set up professional training schools to equip the youth with skills in these specialized areas. This approach enables young people to develop specific skills that are in demand in their local neighborhoods and enables them to explore new employment segments on the local job markets. Jamaica - National Youth Service The National Youth Service focuses on promoting prosocial attitudes and behavior and creating a future with youth as active contributors to communities. The Corps Program offers young people career training for a period of four weeks, then places them in public sector organizations for six months so they can contribute to local and national development needs in the fields of education, emergency, health and peace promotion, environment, agriculture and micro-entrepreneurship. Since 2001, the program has benefitted more than 20,000 participants and equipped young people with important life skills as a way out of poverty, unemployment and crime. A study commissioned by the International Development Bank (IDB) in 2003 on the 2001/02 Corps Program participants revealed that 60.1% of the participants either gained full-time employment or continued their studies at tertiary institutions. According to Adinhair Jones, former Executive Director of Jamaicaâ€&#x;s National Youth Service who participated at the 8th IANYS conference in Paris 2009, the program has three missions: to help youth gain work experience; to encourage a sense of responsibility, self respect and service; and to promote discipline, democracy, citizenship and cooperation among participants. Jamaica has a large problem with youth delinquency, which is driven by unrealistic expectations of youth by society, most notably in the pre-occupation with achieving employment. National Youth Service gives young people a pathway for getting job training and finding alternatives to crime for making a living. Challenges faced in Jamaica include forging partnerships between organizations, collecting evidence of the effectiveness of the NYS, processing information and expanding the youth service within the constraints of limited facilities. Ghana - National Service Scheme The National Service Scheme (NSS), first established in 1969, engages young graduates in national service projects countrywide to encounter the shortage of trained staff in rural and underserved areas. The NSS aims to encourage the spirit of national service and integration among all segments of the Ghanaian society. It also aims to stimulate nation-building through active youth participation and service projects designed to combat hunger, illiteracy, disease and


March 2010 Youth Service Programs and Initiatives Advancing Youth Employability Worldwide

unemployment in Ghana, and to develop skilled manpower through practical training. Medical, agricultural and educational volunteer brigades have also been established to cope with the shortage of skilled staff in rural communities. In addition, the revised National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) is planning to recruit 100,000 young people by the end of 2010 to create productive employment opportunities in all sectors of the economy. The programme was launched in 2006 as a strategy to empower young people and to spur the socioeconomic development of Ghana. The government recently reorganized the NYEP in order to make it more effective and responsive to the needs of young people seeking employment in Ghana and is preparing to implement the Youth-in-Agriculture Programme to create additional employment opportunities. Referring to the NYEP program, Ghana President John Evans Atta Mills explained that democratic governance is inexorably linked to human development and democratic governance canâ€&#x;t be sustained when people live in poverty. Nigeria - National Youth Service Corps Scheme The National Youth Service Corps aims at harnessing the potential of Nigerian youth for national development. Ther scheme was established in 1973 to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian civil war. The scheme, which engages youth in a year of compulsory service, promotes discipline, national unity and cohesion among the different ethnic groups by assigning service participants to regions others than their origin, and encourages young people to develop skills for self employment. Lately, Nigeria has experienced increased sectarian violence in some parts of the country and the rape of a corps member in November 2009 raised questions if the program provides sufficient security to NYS participants and prompted calls to restructure the NYSC. The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is currently working on a Technical Aid Corps (NTAC) program to address the high youth unemployment situation in Nigeria's oil-producing region by engaging graduates from the region in meaningful activities. Similar to the NYSC, the program aims at enabling youth to obtain valuable job experience to enhance the chance of employment or to become self-employed. Graduates will work for a period of two years for selected companies and will receive compensation that is paid one third by the employer and two third by the NDDC. The NTAC provides graduates the chance to gain skills in their specialized field, unlike the NYSC that allocates skilled service participants to projects where their service is most needed irrespective of their specialized skills. Philippines - National Youth Service In 2009, the Philippines government identified a National Youth Service program as one of the priority projects of the administration. The NYS programs aims to underscore the importance of the youth in community action in the wake of the global economic crisis. The program involves 18 to 24 year olds through the National Service Corps (NSC) and Youth Conservation Corps (YCC). The NSC engages unemployed and underemployed skilled youth or college graduates in


March 2010 Youth Service Programs and Initiatives Advancing Youth Employability Worldwide

education and other community service projects, while the YCC provides opportunities for young people with less education and skills, and will focus on environmental and infrastructure projects. The NYS program absorbed the Out-of-School-Youth Serving Towards Economic Resiliency (OYSTER) program, an emergency employment program launched in 2002 for out of school and out of work youth in urban settings. Various government agencies are involved in the new service program to guarantee a trans-sectoral approach to high rates of youth unemployment: the Department of Education is providing skills training to program participants to prepare them for livelihood opportunities; the Department of Public Works and Highways is involved through infrastructure projects like welding, carpentry, and others; the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is directing tree planting, potting and gardening services; and the Philippine National Police is involved through computer encoding, among others. International Labor Organization (ILO) - Youth Employment Network (YEN) For years the International Labor Organization (ILO) has supported initiatives that stimulate youth employment worldwide. In Sri Lanka, the ILO office in Colombo in cooperation with local stakeholders and funding from the Japanese Government is currently implementing the Youth Employment Project. The project promotes decent work for young people and aims at alleviating poverty among rural youth aged 15-29 by enhancing employment opportunities in villages, directing young people to vocational and entrepreneurship training and improving overall services of the job market. At the national level the project aims at advancing knowledge and understanding of youth employment issues and stimulating policy development. In 2001, the ILO in partnership with the United Nations and the World Bank initiated the Youth Employment Network (YEN). The network aims to spur action on youth employment based on the commitment made at the Millennium summit and promotes “decent” employment for youth. As a global network, YEN is in contact with governments, development agencies and other stakeholders to discuss programs and policies and “to engage, educate and motivate actors to provide improved employment opportunities for youth”. Furthermore YEN serves as a platform for knowledge sharing, exchanging ideas on innovative projects and an information pool. While YEN is engaged worldwide, a special focus is paid to West Africa where it opened a regional office in Dakar in 2006. In addition to the youth employment databank which contains information on organizations that focus on tackling unemployment in West Africa, YEN is implementing a small grants scheme called the “Youth-to-Youth Fund,” a small grants scheme that offers support to innovative grass-roots level employment projects in the Mano River Union (


March 2010 Youth Service Programs and Initiatives Advancing Youth Employability Worldwide

MRU) region initiated by youth aged 15-35 years. Trinidad & Tobago - Civilian Conservation Corps The Trinidad and Tobago Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), launched in 1993, prepares marginalized and at risk youth for a productive life through practical job and environmental skills training combined with activities and experiences that spur behavioral and attitudinal changes. The six-months-long program, implemented under the authority of the Ministry of National Security, is tailored to the needs of unemployed or unemployable youth aged 18-25 years. The program is empowering youth with life skill and on-the-job training that strengthen self-esteem and equips them with gainful experience and practical knowledge to help them improve their job seeking behavior, employability and quality of life. Formal training is provided by the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (TTHTI) and the Metal Industries Company (MIC) with the support of government facilities. In some cases companies contact the CCC on job vacancies that could be filled by former trainees or trainees find employment within the CCC structure. Algeria – Plans for Social and Environmental Service The Algerian government is planning to tackle youth unemployment by engaging jobless and unskilled people 18-40 years old in environmental and social activities. The government envisions creating more than 3 million jobs in the public sector over the next years. Special focus will be paid to marginalized, poor youth who dropped out of schools. Unemployed Algerians who dedicate 3-5 hours a day to projects that benefit the society will receive a monthly stipend of 6,000 dinars. In addition, job training opportunities will be put in place to substantially decrease unemployment in Algeria. The new approach could allocate human resource to the understaffed health and the newly evolved environmental sector, engaging unemployed youth while benefiting the entire society. However, youth unemployment poses a challenge that requires a regional strategy, Algerian Labor and Social Security Minister Tayeb Louh recently said at the Arab Conference on Youth Employment, held in Algiers in November 2009. The international symposium on "Youth and the Future: Current Challenges, Capacity Building and Participation Mechanisms", recently held Tunisia, brought together stakeholders from the region and worldwide to discuss the importance of active youth engagement. According to Tunisian President Ben, Ali who opened the symposium, “attention should be focused on the vital sectors that target youth directly, such as health, education, training, culture, communication technologies, employment, social care, leisure and sports activities, volunteerism, and civil society action.�


March 2010 Giving Back and Going Green in the United States By Caitlin O’Donnell, ICP Spring 2010 Intern As the United States begins to recover from a deep economic recession, employment stands as the most important step in the recovery process. Americans from all walks of life are having trouble finding suitable jobs, and the nation‟s youth are no exception – there are nearly 3.3 million unemployed youths in the US, according to the Brookings Institute. The United States population has also become increasingly concerned with combating global climate change and pursuing more eco-friendly lifestyles. This struggle to find efficient energy solutions and create jobs has prompted the perfect solution: green jobs. One increasingly popular way to engage young people in the path to green jobs is through service corps. Service corps are in a uniquely useful position to connect youth with the “Go Green” movement: they create full-time positions that serve communities and put cash back into the struggling economy, all the while directly contributing to instituting clean energy initiatives. Corps help young people develop skills necessary to find employment and become an integral part of the workforce. Recent increases in green jobs opportunities stems from President Obama‟s 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which allocated $85 billion in funds for the development of clean energy programs. In another allocation of funding in April 2009, Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which expanded opportunities for Americans to serve the country. These two pieces of legislation taken together hold the potential to jump start clean energy initiatives and tackle unemployment. One concept that developed out of the Serve America Act was the Clean Energy Service Corps. ICP and a broad coalition of partners, including Apollo Alliance, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Center on Wisconsin Strategy, Corps Network, Energy Action Coalition, Green For All , and 1Sky came together to support the creation of a Clean Energy Corps and expand the opportunity for green service and green jobs. The Clean Energy Corps working group sought to create “green collar” jobs through different energy programs, broaden service opportunities and pre-apprenticeship experiences for disadvantaged young people that could lead to green jobs, and provide opportunities for job-seekers, especially low-income youth, to gain the education and skills to land green jobs. Through the job training and service-learning programs, youth will have the skills necessary to qualify for the hundreds of thousands of green-collar jobs that will be created. The Clean Energy Service Corps is just one of 143 service and conservation corps that comprise The Corps Network. The service and conservation corps descend from the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps, in which three million men worked to improve public lands and receive food, shelter, education, and a modest stipend in return. With corps operating in 44 states and the District of Columbia, over 29,000 corps members between the ages of 16-25 work to improve


March 2010 Giving Back and Going Green in the United States

their communities and environment through a variety of service programs, such as the Public Lands Corps. In partnership with the National Parks Service, the Public Lands Corps restore and protect the landscape of the United States through projects trail building and maintenance, forest fire prevention, and the creation of outdoor recreation and exercise spaces. Currently, Congress is working on legislation to reauthorize the PLC, under the new name of Public Lands Service Corps and encourage the cultivation of service-learning opportunities through the Corps. By fostering the development of skills needed to maintain and protect the public lands, PLC creates a direct line for these newly skilled youth to be hired non-competitively by the National Parks Service. The Department of the Interior is also working to increase youth service and youth employment with the creation of the 21st Century Conservation Corps proposal, which is included in the DOI‟s 2010 budget. Of the proposed $70 million allocated for youth programs, $50 million will go toward the 21st Century Conservation Corps initiative cultivate in youth a respect and responsibility to the environment and prepare them for environmental and natural resource careers. Components of the 21st Century Conservation Corps include environmental education for students and teachers in outdoor laboratories, recreation programs such as wildlife observation and hiking, volunteer and community service conservation programs, and the Student Career Experience Program, which will support equal opportunity employment objectives and expose youth to public service. These programs will encourage youth to protect and maintain the environment and its resources and set them on a professional career in conservation. At the 2010 Annual Corps Forum, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced his challenge to the DOI to increase youth employment opportunities by 2011 by 60%. He also revealed the Department of the Interior‟s new partnership with the Corps Network in establishing the Bureau of Reclamation Youth Conservation Program. According to Secretary Salazar, the new Bureau “will engage youth in hands-on work, along with internship opportunities.” Another opportunity presented by Secretary Salazar is the Office of Youth and their “Youth in the Great Outdoors” initiative to “employ, educate, and engage” youth in the Great Outdoors. Through their education and employment programs, the DOI is working to provide a wealth of opportunities for youth to gain education, skills, and employment while preserving environmental resources. The growing impetus for pursuing eco-friendly policies and programs has opened up an opportunity to deal with two crises at the same time: moving the US to a more eco-friendly way of life and creating jobs for the growing ranks of unemployed youth. Service corps are stepping up to the challenge and creating programs for youth to gain the education and skills needed to be hired for green jobs while impacting their communities in the quest for a cleaner, more energy efficient America.


March 2010 National Youth Service as a Strategy to Address Youth Unemployment in South Africa By Veronika Schlecht, ICP Program Assistant The National Youth Service (NYS) of South Africa provides opportunities for the involvement of young people in service activities that benefit the community. The NYS aims at providing young people a way out of long-term unemployment, developing an understanding of their role as citizens in a democracy and assisting them in participating in community re-integration and nation building. ICP interviewed Mr. Clayton Peters, Head of Division, Skills Development and National Youth Service at the National Youth Development Agency in South Africa, to learn more about NYS initiatives that advance youth employment in South Africa. ICP: Can you please tell us more about the National Youth Service (NYS) in South Africa and how it addresses youth unemployment in particular? Mr. Peters: The NYS is a government initiative in South Africa that offers opportunities for young people between the ages of 18 and 35 - especially the unemployed, unskilled and out of school - to contribute to the national development through serving their communities and country, while developing the skills that will support their access to the economy and leadership potential. In addition, it also introduced the concept of service learning in higher education institutions. The current target group for the program in South Africa is broken down into three categories. Category one involves unemployed, out of school and unskilled young people in a year of service, and comprises accredited learning and skills development, community development and exit opportunities. Category two involves high school learners and university students in community service activities while they study. The last category involves youth and adults in ad hoc community volunteer opportunities. Over the last five years the NYS has witnessed a phenomenal growth in the number of young people participating in it. To date, more than 100,000 unemployed, out of school and unskilled young South Africans have, through NYS, directly benefited their communities and the country. Despite the high structural unemployment that has plagued the country over the last 15 years, about 33 percent of these young people have accessed exit opportunities. These have been either in the form of formal employment, self employment or pursuing further education. The programs that have contributed to these figures were implemented in partnership with National and Provincial Government Departments. These partnerships have included the Department of Public Works under the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) were young people are involved in the development and maintenance of public infrastructure such as building roads, public housing, prisons and the maintenance of public buildings such as courts and municipal offices. In addition to this, other Departments within the social and environment clusters


March 2010 National Youth Service as a Strategy to Address Youth Unemployment in South Africa

aligned NYS with existing initiatives that have resulted in the leveraging of resources from these Government Departments to further expand and diversify the scope and sectors within the NYS operates. For example, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry has aligned NYS with the Working for Water Programme and the Department of Health and the Department Social Development have aligned it with the Home and Community Based Care Programme. Other Departments such as the Department of Home Affairs and Public Works are implementing new initiatives within the context of their mandates to expand access to services and/or create economic opportunities for the unemployed. The NYS has also made major efforts to involve institutions of higher education in service learning. To date, 9,000 students at higher education institutions have been involved in 88 innovative projects that have benefited communities and the students alike. A future goal is to expand this category of activities to schools and Further Education Training Colleges. The participation of over 60,000 young people in the Proud to Serve Campaign - an annual volunteer campaign that engages and encourages young people to positively contribute to the development of their communities by volunteering their time, effort and talent - over the last three years, has entrenched the NYS position as South Africaâ€&#x;s biggest youth volunteer programme. Provincial and local governments have been the pillar of the success of this campaign. The NYS recruited, trained and managed 4,000 volunteers for the recently hosted, FIFA Confederation Cup in South Africa and will do the same for the upcoming FIFA world cup in June 2010. ICP: What type of trainings, skill development courses or vocational components do NYS programs offer to young people? Mr. Peters: Independent evaluations of NYS specific projects over the last five years have shown that the majority of young people who have been through the program have emerged with: a sense of civic responsibility, patriotism and commitment to building caring and sustainable communities, a sense of volunteerism and selfless giving, the ability to recognize the value of hard work and personal responsibility, and the ability to defend democratic values through a lifelong commitment to human rights. These generic skills have been coupled with specific workplace skills training programs that have included: End User Computer Training Brick laying Auxiliary Social Work training Carpentry Community Development Plumbing


March 2010 National Youth Service as a Strategy to Address Youth Unemployment in South Africa

Tiling Roofing Microfinance Project Management ICP: Is there any study or report that highlights the increased employability of young people after having participated in NYS and do young people enter workforce more easily after national service? Mr. Peters: National Youth Service candidates, especially those in category one are the most vulnerable of all the categories of youth that are targeted as these are both unemployed and unskilled and most of them have not completed their high school education. Considering the levels of unemployment in the country this presents a big challenge to the NYSP and because of the nature of the challenge as described above and the fact that the interventions of the program are on the labor supply side rather than the demand side the program has spent more energy in trying to prepare these young people for the world of work with more emphasis on getting these young people on a career path that they can follow to eventually be able to have a sustainable livelihood. Thus whilst the ultimate goal is to get the young people into the work force the national youth service has some major limitations in doing this since a typical program lasts for only one year and it is not possible to get an unemployed and unskilled person completely ready for the workplace within that period. The second problem is that whilst youth unemployment is very high there is a general problem of unemployment in the economy that even skilled and experience people are having problems to get employment. So ultimately the immediate short term goal of the national youth service is to set the young people who come out of the program on a defined career path and to prepare them for the next level in their career development. There have been no conclusive empirical studies that have been able to show the impact of participating in a NYSP with regards to increased employability and the ease young people are able to enter the workforce. However, anecdotal evidence shows that “Factoring exit opportunities into the success equation drags down the overall success of a NYSP. There is thus a disjuncture between what is planned and what the demand is in the market (private and public).�1 Exit Opportunities as the name suggests are the opportunities that exist outside of the program that participants can take advantage of on conclusion of their NYSP. These have been defined as either employment in the 1

National Youth Service Programme Exit Opportunity Study In National and Provincial Government Departments: Umsobomvu Youth Fund February 2008


March 2010 National Youth Service as a Strategy to Address Youth Unemployment in South Africa

open market, self employment, or further education and training. However, in the South African context where unemployment among youth is so high these have mostly been defined as the job opportunities that are actually taken up by graduates of NYSP. This has come about as a resultof a number of factors, the critical one being the core business of a NYSP. The study mentioned above raised this question “does it have within its mandate the responsibility of creating jobs and place exitees in jobs (and even FET or self employment)?”2 In response to this question it was concluded that the intention of the NYSP was never to create jobs and place young people in employment and that “the core of NYSPs is to create prepare (job preparation) and create opportunities for young people to enable them to enter gainful employment or pursue other education and entrepreneurial opportunities in the open market. The service element is essential in order to engender a culture of service to communities” 3 This question stems from the control and influence ability of the NYSP. It has significant control and influence over the design and content of a NYSP to prepare candidates, but it does not have control over the external environment to guarantee exitees employment or entrepreneurial opportunities in the open market. The level of influence over the open market (public or private is significantly low to none to guarantee placement of exitees. This seriously hampers the ability to specify targets for absorption.4 ICP: Why do you think national youth service initiatives can be a useful means to address youth unemployment? Mr. Peters: The main reason that anyone young or old seeks employment is to get a livelihood in the form of payment for the work done. Most, if not all employers (individual or organizations) are paid by their customers according to the perceived worth of the service offered. This in return generates the income that is then offered to employees in the form of a salary or otherwise. By involving young people in national youth service initiatives you will be able to inculcate into them the notion of serving others and serving themselves as well. The people who are able to serve others (customers) are almost always better rewarded and if we translate that into youth employment, those youth who are better predisposed to serve others well (by participating in a youth service program) will be more employable than those that are not. This has been shown many times by graduates of volunteer programs when the experience gained in volunteering positions has made them prime candidates for employment in different fields. Besides the technical skills that these young people gain from a NYSP they also receive some generic soft skills that help them to get through life in general and the workplace in particular. These skills include time management, conflict resolution, communication, etc. 2

IBID IBID 4 IBID 3


March 2010 National Youth Service as a Strategy to Address Youth Unemployment in South Africa

The young people also get entrepreneurship education so that they become enabled to decide to go into self employment and have the basic information and to make an informed decision about their careers. The most important aspect of skills training using the National Youth Service Model is the fact that during their training the young people are placed in actual workplaces and given supervision and mentoring to them to get the practical aspects of their training under real world and not simulated conditions. This is an invaluable process in the preparation of young people for the workplace and the world of work. ICP: What do you see as the main reasons for increased unemployment among youth in South Africa and worldwide? Mr. Peters: The causes of youth unemployment are multi dimensional and therefore the response to the issues should also be multidimensional addressing the circumstances that limit young people‟s ability to develop their productive capabilities and potential. These circumstances can be at the micro (individual), meso (family, community) and the macro level. However most of the policy and program responses are typically supply driven and (if targeted at youth) only reach the individual at a later stage without necessarily dealing with the issues that have made such an individual “unemployable” due to a lack of skills and experience that is required in the workplace. This also assumes that jobs are readily available and are there for the taking. The truth is that for the majority of the young people out there, there are no readily available jobs. One of the main reasons for increased unemployment besides that lack of readily available jobs in the economies are these aforementioned circumstances. There should be deliberate efforts to not only understand but to invest significant amounts of resources to address the circumstances that limit young people‟s ability to develop their productive capacities and design programs and policy responses that deal with these circumstances in conjunction with the programs and policies that deal directly with the problem of youth unemployment. Some of these issues include poverty, HIV and AIDS, education, drug and alcohol abuse. These circumstances start impacting on a person way before they are ready to take the responsibility of work, and may sometimes even force a young person to take up the responsibility of work before they are old enough and ready to enter the world of work, as seen in the increasing number of child headed households in developing countries. Coupled with this is the gap between what skills are being produced by the skills development sector and the actual skills that are required in the workplace, or the skills mismatch. This comes about as a result of a number of factors some of which have been mentioned above and the weaknesses in the educational system to prepare young people for certain careers for example in the engineering and science fields. This lack of preparation also forces young people to make poor career choices based on what they perceive they can do in relation to the skills they have obtained.


March 2010 National Youth Service as a Strategy to Address Youth Unemployment in South Africa

ICP: Do you think governments and societies in general do have difficulties realizing and addressing increased youth unemployment that often results in e.g. poverty and violence among youth? Mr. Peters: Youth unemployment is a sign or symptom of deeper problems in society and the support that is available to young people to enhance their ability to develop their productive capabilities and potential. The term “youth unemployment” is itself an indication of the difficulties that governments and societies have in realizing and addressing the issue of unemployment as it affects young people. Whilst accepting the fact that unemployment is more prevalent among young people it is also important to acknowledge which category of young people are affected the worst. By doing this you are then able to design interventions that target a specific cohort of young people who have specific circumstances that will determine their preparedness for the world of work, rather than designing a “one size fits all” youth employment program. It is also important to balance between addressing the current problems of unemployment among the youth of today and to also start putting in place programs that will prevent the youth of tomorrow from facing a similar fate when entering the world of work. ICP: What could be successful approaches to decrease youth unemployment long term? What strategies have to be applied to fight youth unemployment in a comprehensive and sustainable manner? Mr. Peters: Long term there is a need to start looking at why there is a need to decrease youth unemployment. Two reasons typically come to mind, the first is to address the social problems associated with unemployment, e.g. poverty, crime, drug and alcohol abuse that could lead to social turmoil. The second is to provide the young people with a means of living, a means for them to sustain their existence in a dignified manner. By focusing on providing young people with a means to a living you then start viewing the reduction of unemployment among young people as part of a broader strategy in the development of livelihoods that includes entrepreneurship and enterprise development and other interventions that will develop the capacity of youth to provide services to communities. By using this approach you then focus on the development of the young people and also the assets and resources that are available in the communities, building upon the strengths rather than focusing on the weaknesses. Strengthening the immediate support structures for the young people, e.g. family, community schools etc, provides them with a conducive environment in which they can develop their productive capabilities and potential, pursue opportunities and fulfill their aspirations.


March 2010 Spotlight on Latin America: Service-Learning as an Opportunity for Employment Skills Building By Alissa Brower, ICP Spring 2010 Intern Former President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, once said, “Thought without practice is empty, practice without thought is blind.” In recognizing the importance and relevance of this message, many institutions of higher education have applied President Nkrumah‟s theory to the construction of a new kind of curriculum. As the integration of social service in the development of young adults continues to thrive, colleges and universities worldwide have started to adopt the pedagogy of service-learning to complement class-based learning. This new approach to education takes students out of the classroom and into communities where they are able to gain tangible experience, which can contribute to work preparation. Although many colleges and universities provide community engagement opportunities or even require the completion of a number of service hours in order to receive a baccalaureate degree, not all opportunities are necessarily linked to a student‟s future career goals. Some universities have established programs simply to raise students‟ awareness of the needs of their communities, such as feeding the hungry or helping the homeless. Other universities, however, have taken social service and community engagement to the next level. Institutions of higher education have begun connecting service work done outside of the classroom to skills learned within the students‟ major coursework thereby giving students hands-on experience that benefits both the student, who is enhancing critical skills necessary for the working world, and the community, which is in need of these volunteer services. Latin America is one region of the world that has embraced this type of service-learning initiative. It is quite clear that many Latin American colleges and universities are devoted to producing students that not only have the skills necessary for various career fields, but who understand their role and responsibility in the greater community. One such institution is the Universidad de Santiago Chile, which has created an entire department to address social responsibility. Its mission is “to contribute at an advanced level in the creation, preservation, cultivation, and quest for knowledge transfer through research, teaching, arts and extension in the field of science, technology, arts and humanities,” while emphasizing “the comprehensive training of professionals and graduates and their proper integration into the national and international reality.” 1 Universities such as the Universidad de Santiago Chile are trying to shape the future leaders of society by giving them all the tools they need to succeed. One Latin American country that has made great strides in raising students‟ social awareness while simultaneously enhancing practical skills through community service is Mexico. This country has a strong history of recognizing social service as an essential part of youth development. 1

Universidad de Santiago de Chile. Responsabilidad Social Universitaria. Definicion conceptual. Retrieved from http://rsu.usach.cl/index.php?id=52


March 2010 Spotlight on Latin America: Service-Learning as an Opportunity for Employment Skills Building

Mexico believes social service is so vital, in fact, that the federal education ministry mandates a national requirement that all university students complete 480 service hours in order to earn a baccalaureate degree. These hours can be applied to multiple facets of a university education, including internships, employment on campus, and work in the local communities. While different universities apply this requirement in different ways, many share the same goal of providing an educational environment in which students can develop into a global citizen prepared to enter the real world. At the Tecnológico de Monterrey, the university‟s mission is to “form persons with integrity, ethical standards and a humanistic outlook, who are internationally competitive in their professional field; at the same time, they will be good citizens committed to the economic, political, social and cultural development of their community and to the sustainable use of natural resources.”2 These universities are moving away from the traditional approach to education and providing their students with opportunities to see the world in a new way. In recent years, educational institutions have additionally been particularly interested in having students utilize their social service hours in order to gain experience that will assist the student when he or she enters the working world. Last May, legislators pushed for greater recognition of achieving professional practice through Mexico‟s service hour requirement. Carlos Pedrero Rodriguez, president of the Youth Commission in Congress, has pressed for changes to the Education Act that would allow students to gain more professional skills while serving the community.3 He said, “Our intention is not to eliminate the social services but that it has a dual purpose, enabling young people to provide a service to society, but also helps them gain work experience and in the future to get a job.” 4 Those involved in the youth civic engagement community want to inspire a new kind of education, a “citizenship education.” Tying in the standard classroom curriculum with involvement in the surrounding community will provide an education that will benefit students as career seekers and citizens of the world. An example of such an initiative can be found in Mexico City, where a consortium of six private universities, known as CUICAM (Consorcio de Universidades de Inspiración Cristiana de la Zona Metropolitan), was established to develop a social service residency program for university students.5 Students in the program volunteer in Villa Victoria, a municipality located 110 km from Mexico City that ranks third on the national poverty index. The municipality is lacking in many social services and the majority of its citizens have a very poor quality of life. Students are engaged in municipal development studies and create projects that focus on the needs of the 2

Tecnológico de Monterrey. Visión Misión 2015. Retrieved from http://www.itesm.mx/2015/mision.html Santos, S. (2009). Se reconocerá servicio social como práctica profesional. El Heraldo de Chiapas. Retrieved from http://www.oem.com.mx/esto/notas/n1178424.htm 4 Ibid 5 Programme on Institutional Management in Higher Education. (2008). Applying knowledge for the public good: Societal Relevance of university social service programs for sustainable community development. Paris, France: Joan M.W. Landeros. 3


March 2010 Spotlight on Latin America: Service-Learning as an Opportunity for Employment Skills Building

community. By working with both university faculty and members of the community, the university students advance their skills and understanding of impoverished regions by creating projects that focus on improving education, preventative health care, and a local self-sustaining economy. Villa Victoria provides a new kind of classroom setting for university students who have been trained in various academic disciplines. Students are working within a community unlike their own, applying the skills they have learned in fields of study such as Dentistry, Medicine, Law, International Business, Education, Communication, Religious Studies, Electrical Engineering, Architecture, Hotel Management, Tourism, and Translation, while learning how to work with different kinds of populations in Mexico. These students can fulfill their commitment to social service while gaining real world training for their future careers. Argentina is another country that has made exemplary efforts in to recognize service-learning as not only a good practice, but also as a good educational policy tool. Following Latin America‟s tradition of service, Argentina‟s educational system promotes the development of social responsibility within its students starting in kindergarten and continuing through the university level. The country values service-learning so much that president of Argentina awards grants to exemplary programs in schools throughout the nation. Schools recognized by the Premio Presidencial Escuelas Solidarias receive monetary awards ranging from US$1,500 to US$10,000 to continue their efforts in promoting service-learning projects.6 The first Presidential Award in 1999 recognized programs from ten schools. In 2009, twenty-eight programs were considered as finalists, showing the continuous growth of the country‟s service initiative. A former recipient of the Premio Presidencial Escuelas Solidarias was Instituto Superior de Formación Docente y Técnica Nº 2 (Higher Institute of Teacher Training and Technical No. 2) in Buenos Aires. The program allowed prospective teachers to analyze the issues causing school failure. It provides students with training on how to deal with issues in communities with failing schools, including child abuse, behavioral problems, and health care, while giving them the opportunity to create libraries for support centers and develop educational materials. The program serves as an excellent outlet for students who wish to become teachers, as it brings together theory and practice in one mutual space.7 Colleges and universities do not want their students to graduate without the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the working world. Thus, incorporating service-learning that is targeted for students interested in specific career fields will give students the knowledge and experience they need while helping their communities. 6

Service Enquiry. (2003). Service-learning in Argentina (1st ed.) Cape Town, South Africa: Maria Nieves Tapia and Maria Marta Mallea. 7 Ministerio de Educacion (2007). Programa Nacional Educacion Solidaria. Retrieved from http://www.me.gov.ar/ edusol/archivoppescsol.html#pp2007

Profile for ICP Staff

March 2010 Service News Worldwide  

March 2010 issue of SNW

March 2010 Service News Worldwide  

March 2010 issue of SNW

Profile for icicp
Advertisement