Minister Extends Presidential Youth Employment Initiative, Will There Be More Teaching Assistant Jobs?

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The Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI) concluded Phase IV at the end of September 2023. Though its conclusion marks the end of the teaching assistant placements, it has been confirmed that the fourth phase of the initiative placed over 90% of its target number in employment positions in public schools. 

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On Wednesday, Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana, announced the Medium-term Bugdet Policy Speech. Here he announced that the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI) will be extended.

The presidential employment initiative will be extended for another year through repurposing of a portion of funds from existing public employment programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme and the Community Works Programme. A comprehensive review of public employment programmes is underway.

It is however unclear which programmes within the initiative, such as the Basic Education Employment initiative (BEEI) which saw teaching assistants being appointed, will be included in this extension.

Youth Capital, who were calling for this extension, has said that this announcement is "pitting one solution against another". 

So on the one hand, we welcome the one year extension of the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative ... But the programme's funding comes at the expense of funds from existing public employment programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme and the Community Works Programme.

Seeing that young people make up majority of the population in the country, Youth Capital believes that the budget doesn't reflect that.

Progress Of BEEI

The BEEI, which falls under the PYEI, was started with the aim of combatting the high unemployment that still plagues South African youth. The first phase was initiated in December of 2020, and spanned a total of five months, ending in April of 2021.

In the initial phase, 320 000 young individuals were temporarily appointed as Education Assistants and General School Assistants in various public schools around the country. The employed individuals were trained to eventually be able to enter work in teaching Home Languages, First Additional Languages, Mathematics, Business, Commerce and Management (BCM).

Phase II took place from November 2021 to March 2022, followed shortly by Phase III, which started in April of 2022, and ended in August 2022. Finally, Phase IV started in March of 2023 and ended recently, at the end of September.

Phase IV Placement Outcomes

The Plan for Phase IV was to place 255 000 youth employees in public schools across the country. They managed to place 92% of that goal. The placements were divided by Province as follows:

  • Eastern Cape - Projected Placement: 40 100, Confirmed Placement: 36 450
  • Free State - Projected Placement: 15 500, Confirmed Placement: 14 921
  • Gauteng - Projected Placement: 40 000, Confirmed Placement: 36 219
  • KwaZulu-Natal - Projected Placement: 58 500, Confirmed Placement: 58 054
  • Limpopo - Projected Placement: 35 000, Confirmed Placement: 30 647
  • Mpumalanga - Projected Placement: 27 000, Confirmed Placement: 18 827
  • Northern Cape - Projected Placement: 7 000, Confirmed Placement: 6 099
  • Northwest - Projected Placement: 16 000, Confirmed Placement: 14 792
  • Western Cape - Projected Placement: 21 000, Confirmed Placement:19 930

In total, the initiative managed to place 235 939 youth employees. Though Phase IV has ended, interested applicants can apply for Phase V when applications are announced.

Suggested Article:

Youth bored at home.

Youth unemployment remains one of South Africa's most pressing issues that has shown very little signs of improvement, despite efforts from government and other organizations. 

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