Evelien Storme

Youth employability and socioeconomic security: expanding the inclusion of South African youth through the use of a Multidimensional Youth Employability Index.

The concept of employability has remained an empty signifier, meaning different things in different contexts. In Postapartheid South Africa where the triple challenge of intergenerational unemployment, poverty, and inequality continues to determine the outcomes of young people, it is important to come to an understanding that captures the lived realities of youth and the deprivations they experience across different spheres of their lives. In this study, I construct via mixed methods a Multidimensional Youth Employability Index. As a tool, it aims to assist policy makers to understand more fully, and therefore improve more effectively, the skewed access to opportunities in education and employment of the most vulnerable youth.

I will draw on ethnographic fieldwork in Cape Town to complement and comprehend more fully results I will gather from a quantitative analysis of public survey data. Life trajectories of youth and the realities they navigate as individuals and as members of a household and community are much more complex and fluid than survey data depict. With this multidisciplinary approach I therefore seek to demonstrate how ethnographic research plays a vital role in evidence-based policy making.