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New Youth Bridge programme addresses solutions to youth unemployment

Youth Bridge supports unemployed youth (15 to 35-year-olds) and helps them bridge the gap between their undiscovered ambitions and abilities and the career opportunities that await them.

The initiative says that it draws on lessons learnt from Christel House South Africa’s successful efforts over the past 22 years to support vulnerable youth to secure gainful employment.

Key to the programme’s success is addressing the barriers to stable, successful employment through a character-based, career-focused readiness programme and then continuing to support candidates through their first periods of placement.

Given South Africa’s high youth unemployment rate, the school engaged with experts on creating sustainable and viable solutions around its new Youth Bridge Initiative.

Key themes that were discussed included:

  • the perceived disconnect and mismatch of expectations between the youth and the South African industry
  • potential strategies that businesses and entrepreneurs can implement to generate new employment opportunities
  • how youth who come from vulnerable communities can be better supported, and
  • how a character-based, career-focused approach will support young work-seekers’ career journeys.

“Christel House SA develops children from underserved communities on more than an IQ level; they understand that EQ is just as important, if not more so. I’m so excited about the Youth Bridge programme, and I think the character-based and career-focused element is key,” says Nikki Joshua, a representative from Leelyn Management, the implementation partner for the Jobs Connect programme, run by the City of Cape Town.

“The Youth Bridge programme offers an opportunity to add value and prepare our youth to find and keep jobs. While doing good for our youth is wonderful, doing what’s right is even more meaningful. With the appropriate guidance and support, our youth can achieve their full potential,” adds Lance Bouwers, a representative from T3 Telecoms SA.

Christel House SA says it has successfully supported students from some of the most under-resourced communities on the Cape Flats for 22 years through its holistic character-based and career-focused education model. Students who attend the school receive career planning and support five years post-matric, and today, 93% of their alumni are studying, working or doing both.

The Youth Bridge Initiative operates under Christel House SA’s 10X department, which aims to widen the organisation’s impact to more beneficiaries through innovative projects and partnerships.

The Youth Bridge programme offers unemployed youth the opportunity to engage in a six-month programme that includes full-time 1.5-month intensive contact sessions, bolstered by 4.5 months of longitudinal support and mentorship.

Participants receive:

  • character development lessons
  • computer training
  • financial literacy education
  • career etiquette
  • establishing a career path, and
  • a psychometric assessment to assist in finding their passion.

Thereafter, mentors connect graduates to further education opportunities to improve their skills and employability and eventually match them with potential employers.

The launch of the Youth Bridge Programme is particularly timely given the results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for Q4: 2022 by Statistics South Africa, which shows another drop to 45,3% in South Africa’s youth (aged 15-34 years) unemployment rate.

“The unemployment crisis highlights the urgent need to implement effective solutions that empower our youth to become active and productive members of society,” says Ayanda Mvandaba, managing partner, 10X.

Mvandaba concludes, “Youth Bridge recognises the challenges that the emerging workforce faces in not only securing employment opportunities but also in maintaining positions that offer growth potential for career advancement. Our role is to act as the unifying force, which brings our partners and youth together for a common purpose — to make a meaningful impact in the next generation’s lives.”

For more information, visit You can also follow Christel House South Africa on Facebook, Twitter or on Instagram.

New Youth Bridge programme Youth Bridge Christel House SA Christel House SA employment initiative Youth employment programmes SA Youth employment programmes Cape Flats Youth employment programmes

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