This graduate believes he has the solution to youth unemployment

Hard at work.
Hard at work.

So the matric results are out and many students are heading into the world, either to start at university or to find their way into the workforce.

As optimistic as they be, the reality is that many graduates and matriculants will be faced with unemployment in 2020, and the process of job hunting can be a nightmarish and demotivating one, even in the best cases. 

Rhodes University graduate, Viwe Potelwa, believes his newly founded graduate safety net, which he created under his organisation FinSavvy, is a sustainable solution for societal problems, especially matriculant and graduate unemployment in South Africa.

Motivated by the unemployment crisis, Viwe has partnered with PSG Wealth East London, who will be responsible for managing and investing the money of the graduate safety net, and put his entrepreneurial background to use by developing the tool to assist unemployed graduates and newly matriculated learners.

"I thought about how money can be put in a graduate or matriculant's pocket and this is how the idea was born," he says.

"The tool is intended to make the job-hunting journey a smoother process for people. I want to create an environment where once people are finished with school, they are not anxious and feel like they are a failure for not knowing what follows," Viwe explains. 

The money savvy man with the plan

Viwe comes from a family of businessmen and businesswomen so with that blood running through his veins, it was inevitable that he would start his own business.  

"I always wanted to start my own business because I grew up in a family that had a lot of family businesses. Growing up I sold sweets to my siblings, parents and workers around the house," he told Parent24.

"That is how I raised half of the money for a new bike. Around the age of ten my parents added the other half because I showed initiative," he explained. "I sold sweets after an entrepreneurial week in grade 3 where I started understanding how profit and loss works and also realised how I could make my own money, outside of my allowance."

When he got to University, Viwe asked his Information Science professors for their opinions on app ideas he had. "I asked them to sign non-disclosure agreements,"he says. "That’s how serious I was about starting my own business."

Planning for the future

Viwe says he always knew he wanted to make peoples lives easier.

He describes the graduate safety net as an all encompassing idea that deals with people planning for the future, helping them to get work experience and much more.

When asked about his money savvy ways and love for saving, he explains that the entrepreneurial week in grade three as well as planning to save for items like new sneakers, new clothes, a PlayStation and more,  got him into the habit of saving even with no specific target in mind and it helped him understand money better. 

"My dad was someone who saved a lot as well, and I saw that and wanted the same. So it was from many different angles where my money savvy ways came from," Viwe shares.

How does it work?

"Graduates or matriculates will get a stipend if they are unemployed. The payout of the stipend is guaranteed for either 12 or 24 months depending on the option chosen by the beneficiaries," he says. 

There are four options that require monthly payments ranging between R75 and R300, and each guarantees different stipend packages to assist however necessary with the employment finding process.

"It is expensive to travel to interviews; it is expensive to print a Curriculum Vitae and not everyone has internet access. In terms of job interviews, not everyone has presentable clothing and that could lead to somebody missing out on a job opportunity," Viwe says.

The initiative is aimed at learners and students who are still in school or university.

"We also want to use our networks to help people gain work experience during unemployment so that they have something to do besides wait for their job application responses, or even essentially help them find permanent employment," Viwe says.

His heart's desire

Acknowledging that he comes from a privileged financial background Viwe says before he started the FinSavvy Graduate Safety Net, his heart's desire was that people would have financial security.

"I wanted people in South Africa to have the same peace of mind I had, no matter what financial background they came from. I am well aware of the fact that I come from a more privileged financial background. When I graduated I had no mental or financial stress, and this is exactly what I wanted for other people," he explained.

Viwe holds a Bachelor of Business Science degree and a Finance Honours qualification.

Despite this being a new initiative, Viwe has already received positive feedback as well as warm and welcoming commentary from social media users who can relate to the unemployment struggle.

Many believe the initiative will be good for the South African economy, youth employment and that it will provide families with the necessary support.

In conclusion Viwe says, "The most important thing is not necessarily giving people a stipend, the most important thing is to ensure people get employed and invest in their futures if they don't have work experience."

Find out more here:

Chat back:

Share your story with us, and we could publish your mail. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

Sign up for Parent24's newsletters.

Read more:

10 realistic tips to help matriculants succeed at finding a job

Young South Africans upbeat despite broken promises and poor odds

How giving young people basic financial skills helps them find jobs

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Authorities should bring in the army already
17% - 212 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
8% - 102 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
68% - 829 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
7% - 81 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.