Although India is experiencing strong economic growth, there is an imminent shortage of skilled employees. In a workforce of more than 495 million, less than 10 percent possess employable skills. Over the next ten years, 500 million youth will need to be skilled to support market demands.
After proven success with urban microfinance, we are seeing more market-based financial tools being utilized among the urban poor. Here’s what we know: Giving people living in urban poverty access to financial tools, skill development and employment opportunities can help urban families establish financial stability. That’s why we must find the sweet spot between what people say they need and what works in the market.
Seeing and responding to the whole picture – putting the market, the challenges, the possible solutions in context – helps us identify the best solutions. And our work is always bottom-up, working with partners directly from idea to implementation.
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At 66 percent, South Africa has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the world. The government, in close partnership with business and civil society, has launched several large-scale initiatives that aim to increase the number of work opportunities available to the country’s youth. Despite this, young work seekers, particularly those from poor families, are at risk of long-term structural unemployment due to challenges in accessing and sustaining jobs. We are confident that by increasing the work readiness of candidates in tandem with improving job retention rates, employers will be encouraged to hire more young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds.
We’ve learned that simply addressing basic needs isn’t enough. That’s why we are seeking organizations that provide access to and information about work opportunities and those that educate aspiring job seekers about the work-ready behaviors required to succeed in the formal economy, and then provide early-employment support to ensure that aspirants stay employed long enough to build up a credible experience base. We’re convinced that this will lay the foundation for their future careers and financial prosperity.