Background | Objectives | The Team | Outputs

A recent and vast body of multi-disciplinary research has shown that young people in South Africa face significant challenges across multiple dimensions of deprivation. This is especially true for those aged 15 – 24 years. This work, since 2015, includes research on youth and the drivers of the intergenerational transmission of poverty, the drivers of youth unemployment in post-apartheid South Africa, and multidimensional poverty among youth, disaggregated to the small-area level. 

The identified challenges are both structural and individual and together these make youth particularly vulnerable. This vulnerability is especially stark during adolescents’ transition into adulthood. Many leave school before completing their final year; they enter the labour market without the necessary levels of education, qualifications and skills; and they are often ill-equipped to navigate the complex social structures that determine access to employment. 

At the same time, South Africa’s current social security system is not designed to support young people with many of these interlocking challenges. It remains based largely on the premise that youth would move swiftly through the education system and into employment, which is often not the case. 

In this context, a multi-stakeholder consortium led by UCT’s PII/Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) was established to address the need for a comprehensive package of support for youth to help them to transition successfully to adulthood.