Government and opportunities for youth

Government believes that young people can drive an innovation and entrepreneurship revolution that will benefit all South Africans.

This page focuses on opportunities that Government provides for the youth.

Bursaries, internships and learnerships

The national school of Government intends to place unemployed graduates in its internship programme, as a contribution towards the development of workplace experience and skills of unemployed youth. The internship programme will run for a period of twelve months, from 1 April to 31 March 2015. Call 012 441 6735 for more information.

Other opportunities:

Government has established a range of support programmes and strategies to empower youth in the various sectors such as:

  • The Employment Tax Incentive Act was published on 18 Dec 2013. In terms of the Act, employers can claim tax deductions when they employ young people Under certain conditions.
  • Since the signing of the Social Accord on Youth Employment 343 000 jobs were created between in April 2013 and December 2013. Over 20 000 government internships were offered in 2013, the majority in provincial departments and state-owned companies.
  • Government has said that from this year, its policies will be guided by the National Development Plan and it is important that the youth familiarise themselves with it and the New Growth Path so that they can be instrumental in their implementation.
  • The new Ministry for Small Business Development will help empower young entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and the economy.
  • The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency have made available funds for young entrepreneurs. The IDC's Gro-e Youth Scheme offers both financial and non-financial support to youth enterprises, with the aim of contributing towards sustainable job creation. R1-billion has been earmarked to fund businesses owned by young people (younger than 35). Government encourages SMMEs and the youth to take advantage of business opportunities emanating from government’s infrastructure development projects.
  • Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile reported in his budget vote speech for 2012/13 that as part of the Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy, a number of high impact programmes targeting youth and women in the arts have been identified. These include:
    • the Indoni, My Heritage My Pride programme which aims to provide young people with life skills training, education and encouragement in appreciating who they are, their heritage and their culture
    • the Trendsetter Initiative through which the department encourages youth to participate in the arts and thus contribute to the development of their communities
    • the Public Art programme, skilling young people and employing them to beautify their communities using their artistic abilities
    • the Emerging Creatives programmes, providing an opportunity for 40 young designers to showcase their designs along side established designers at the Design Indaba in Cape Town.
  • Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) initiatives that sees young people involved in the refurbishment, rehabilitation, and maintenance of community infrastructure across the country. Government has created 3,7 million work opportunities through EPWP over the past five years. A target of six million work opportunities has been set over the five-year period from 2014 to 2019 targeting the youth.
  • Learnerships and internships focussed on raising the skills capacity of young people through Sector Education and Training Authorities.vuk
  • National Rural Youth Service Corps programme aims to enhance skills development by providing unemployed youth in the rural areas with opportunities to work in their communities and to be trained to provide the necessary services for local socio-economic development. A total of 7 398 youth were enrolled in the programme in 2010.
  • Youth are encouraged to register for learnerships through the Sector Education and Training system and  participate in the National Skills Fund programmes.

Study opportunities

Government is committed to providing quality education so that the next generation can take their place at the helm of society.

  • Government is building 12 new technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges across the country – mostly in rural areas. This is in addition to two new universities recently opened in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape as part of investment in youth development. Financial assistance offered to students through the National Student Financial  Aid Scheme (NSFAS) also continues to go up given the increasing numbers of students attending tertiary institutions. 
  • The National Youth Development Agency recently launched the Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund. This is a R20-million fund which is designed to provide financial support to youth, primarily in rural areas. 
  • The Department of Higher Education and Training is operating the Central Application Clearing House or CACH. The service is for learners who qualify for higher education studies but have not been accepted at an institution of their choice at the time the matric results were released. It is also for those learners who did not apply before the closing dates and following the release of the results find that they are eligible for higher education studies.
    Learners looking for spaces in the university education system can contact the call centre on 0860 356 635 or send an SMS with their name and ID number to 49200 and be telephoned back free of charge. They can also access the system via the website The CACH service will verify the learner’s information and forward it to institutions that still have unfilled places. Where places exist and applicants meet the requirements, institutions will contact students to offer them available places.

Still undecided about what to do once you have finished school? SABC Education has clips with information on various careers on their SABC Career Guide ranging from plumber to plastic surgeon.

National Youth Development Agency

nydaThe National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) is a government agency whose role is to tackle challenges that the nation’s youth are faced with.

The NYDA focuses on:

The NYDA will continue with efforts directed at economic participation offering a range of products, programmes and services to young entrepreneurs in need, albeit as a secondary focus. One of these is the NYDA Grant Programme, providing young entrepreneurs an opportunity to access both the financial and non-financial business development support to establish their survivalist businesses.

Government services for the youth

Government has a number of services that benefit the youth.

Youth Camps

In its effort to launch projects that provide the South African youth with opportunities for experiential learning, the first national Youth Camps project took place from 29  September - 5 October 2012.

Personal identification

It is essential to have an identity document when you want to register for writing the matric exams or getting a drivers licence.


You can register on the national voter's roll when you are 16, but may only vote once you have turned 18.


You can get a drivers' licence at eighteen.

Tertiary education

Tertiary education is becoming more important. Government supports students who cannot afford the fees.


Once you have completed your education, you need to start looking for a job.


With a job comes the responsibility to pay tax.

Travel outside SA

Some young people prefer to travel before pursuing further education.

What does government say about the youth?



Government youth websites and social media

International websites




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