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Youth Month Content Feature

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Addressing the youth unemployment crisis: Varsity Vibe's commitment to empowering SA students

The future of the South African economy rests on the shoulders of our youth, making it crucial to address and illuminate the unemployment crisis they face. According to data from Stats SA for the fourth quarter of 2023, the number of unemployed youth increased, reaching a total of 4.7 million. Concurrently, the number of employed youth declined to 5.9 million. This shift has resulted in the youth unemployment rate climbing from 44.3% in 2023 to 45.5% in the first quarter of 2024.

In December 2023, our annual Student Spend Survey, which received responses from over 11,300 Varsity Vibe users, aimed to understand the financial challenges students face. The survey revealed that 73% of youth and students are anxious about securing any form of employment in South Africa. Furthermore, 66% are worried about finding employment within their field of study, casting some uncertainty on the value of pursuing a tertiary education. The scarcity of paid internships and the increasing requirement for at least one year of experience for entry-level jobs have exacerbated these challenges. Consequently, 74.5% of youth and students expressed concern about being unemployed for an extended period.

SOURCE: iStock; CREDIT: PeopleImages
SOURCE: iStock; CREDIT: PeopleImages

These statistics underscore the urgent need for initiatives that address youth unemployment and enhance economic opportunities. Varsity Vibe is committed to empowering young South Africans through entrepreneurship. In 2020, we launched our student business initiative to support business-minded students nationwide in growing their brands or businesses as Varsity Vibe partners. We strive to assist these students by offering guidance, mentorship and a platform that connects them with a nationwide student audience. Additionally, students can acquire valuable sales skills and generate income through our Vibe Agent program. Vibe Agents, known as the "voice of Varsity Vibe," are student promoters who increase awareness of Varsity Vibe and drive membership sign-ups on their respective campuses.

Echoing the sentiments of the late Oliver Tambo, the youth are indeed our future. It is imperative to go above and beyond to empower the young minds in our communities, ensuring they have the tools and opportunities to succeed in a challenging economic landscape.

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