The cost of finding a job is cited as one of the challenges young people experience when trying to navigate their way out of being unemployed . As a young man from the Eastern Cape, Viwe Loyiso Potelwa decided to respond to this challenge by recently creating the initiative: FinSavvy Graduate Safety Net. In the words of Viwe- FinSavvy Graduate Safety Net is about “Putting money into young people’s pocket while they look for a job”. Viwe realized the importance of having funds to support job seeking efforts in his final year at Rhodes University, as a Bachelor of Business Science student. He says “I was lucky enough in my last year of university to work as a sub-warden, so I had a bit of money in my pocket while I was doing job searching until I found work”. He says that while looking for work as a graduate he “was not worried about the fact that I did not have money to get to an interview or have presentable clothing when I get to that interview”. Unlike some of his peers, Viwe was also not worried about having money because he knew his parents could support him financially and not expect him to provide towards meeting the household expenses. Because his peers have to worry about having the funds needed to look for work, Viwe created an initiative that gives matriculates and graduates looking for work a stipend for either 12 months or 24 months. This initiative is part of the company-FinSavvy he built in 2018.
How does FinSavvy Graduate Safety Net work?
For a small monthly subscription fee, a university graduate and a matriculant from anywhere in the country, receives this stipend after they have registered on FinSavvy’s platform, while looking for a job. A young person interested in receiving the stipend would need to register while either at university or high school at least three years before they graduate or pass matric.
To register on the platform, a young person would need to complete the following steps:
- Complete the online form found on the SafetyNet page;
- Check the different stipend options and selects one;
- Submit supporting documents like an ID and bank statements.
The ability to download and submit the form via email is not always possible for young people in under-resourced communities, and so Viwe and his team plan to make this step towards registration easier by, for example, going to the under-resourced communities and physically assisting young people to register.
Young people who are registered on the platform will be able to receive a stipend, paid directly into their bank account, while looking for a job. The stipend a young person receives depends on the monthly subscription fee package they choose when registering. For example, if a young person chooses the R75 monthly subscription they will receive a monthly stipend of R1200 while looking for work after they have matriculated or graduated.
The FinSavvy Graduate Safety Net’s aspirations
Viwe says he hopes to persuade government and the private sector to agree to sponsor a young person from an underserved community to receive the stipend while they look for full-time work. Viwe explains that the stipend is meant to be a safety net, and so is not meant to last for more than 24 months. During this period, the stipend is meant to help a young person not only look for full-time work but also to enable them to do short-term work as way of gaining work experience. The FinSavvy Graduate Safety Net will also actively assist the unemployed matriculate or graduate to find employment.
The value of the initiative
The value of the initiative is not only in its ability to meet a practical need for a young person who is either a matriculate or graduate looking for work, but also in its ability to decrease the financial stress an unemployed young person faces linked to job-seeking. Viwe says that “just because [young people] have become unemployed does not mean it should be difficult to find a job as well”. Viwe says that he has observed in his community that the long search for employment that young people experience has resulted in young people experiencing depression.
The stories Youth Capital has heard from young people from different parts of South Africa confirm the likelihood of a young person feeling depressed because of the prolonged period of searching and waiting for employment. Viwe believes that young people should be supported so that the experience of looking for a job is easy and smooth, especially in terms of the cost attached to job searching.
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