Johannesburg - The government should link its proposed youth wage subsidy to training and skills programmes to prevent exploitation and increase young people's chances of finding work, union body Fedusa said on Thursday.
"This must be a training-based wage subsidy with the aim of facilitating the entry of young unemployed people into the labour market," said Krister Janse van Rensburg, acting general secretary of the Federated Unions of SA.
As the country marked Youth Day, Janse van Rensburg said the National Planning Commission recently noted that the quality of education for most black pupils was still substandard and rising levels of unemployment were becoming a concern.
He said South African schools operated in a two-tier system - some performed at international standards, and others just scraped pupils through, with around 2.4 million youths not working, training or studying.
Fedusa said someone in the 15 to 24 age group with incomplete secondary school education had a 75% chance of being unemployed, dropping to 66% if they had matriculated.
Those with a tertiary qualification, but not a degree had a 50% chance, while those with a degree had a 17% chance of not finding a job.
The wage subsidy scheme was announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in his Budget Speech, but the social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council were still at loggerheads about its implementation, said Janse van Rensburg.
"However, Fedusa remains concerned that the proposed wage subsidy will create a two-tier labour market open to abuse by employers who seek to maximise profit and improve their bottom line."