In 2013, nearly five million young people (18-29 years) in South Africa were unemployed, equating to a 53.6% unemployment rate. At this time, the South African government had placed economic growth and job creation as an urgent public policy priority. Given this stark need, EOH, through their local subsidiary, ProServe Africa, launched a Youth Job Creation Initiative to invest in disadvantaged young people, leveraging their CSR programming to positively impact skills development in their respective markets. After a few years of implementation, EOH saw great results, but had identified the need to partner with an organization to provide heavier emphasis on soft skills gaps.

In 2015, with generous support from JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the International Youth Foundation (IYF) partnered with ProServ South Africa to implement the three-year Strengthening Learnerships for Unemployed Youth project to promote the development and delivery of IYF's Passport to Success® (PTS) life skills training for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities in Gauteng Province, South Africa. Developed by IYF in 2006 and since implemented in more than 50 countries, PTS is designed to help build youth’s confidence, reliability, and teamwork skills necessary to succeed in school, work, and life. Strengthening Learnerships for Unemployed Youth contributed to the country-wide EOH Youth Job Creation Initiative and filled the need for market-responsive life skills training that EOH, along with the wider information and communications technology (ICT) industry, identified as critical for preparing more young people for careers in the sector. In addition to PTS training, this initiative provided structured ICT workplace experience and technical training. In collaboration with Genesis Analytics, IYF measured the impact of the PTS integration, and, with EOH, worked to leverage this data to increase public and private sector investment in life skills training for unemployed youth.

This program achieved substantial results, with the final impact evaluation showing that participating youth were:

  • 79% highly satisfied with the intervention
  • 20% more likely to be employed 6 months post-learnership
  • More likely to be retained by employers
  • Equipped with stronger non-cognitive skills for the workplace