Bradley Maseko is the brainchild of BrandedYouth, a marketing agency founded in 2009 to facilitate relationships between brands and the youth market. Maseko had a vision to empower himself as an entrepreneur as well as young people.

He was 26 years old when he established BrandedYouth, and seven years later, he’s gone on to work with some of the most sought-after brands. Serving as the link between brands and the youth market, Maseko says that although it’s been hard work, seeing the fruits of his labour has been rewarding.

“For me, some of the most rewarding moments is being able to employ and empower young people,” says Maseko. “Being able to give young people a salary and get them on board at BrandedYouth makes me proud of the company’s achievements.”

On bridging the gap between youth and the older generation, Maseko believes that miscommunication is the biggest problem. “The two generations don’t understand what the other is trying to say and the channel of communication is broken up.”

He says that the number one reason unemployment is high among young people is the perception that having a degree is enough. “The youth think that just by virtue of obtaining a degree, they’ll land a job,” says Maseko. “However, companies nowadays want entry-level qualifications [a degree] plus at least one year’s experience. We’re trying to promote a culture of going to institutions to study and equip yourself, but also going to companies to gain experience, whether it be twice or three times a week. This will help to build your CV.”

*In South Africa, only about 15% of high school students make it to university, while the total youth unemployment rate sits at 63,1%

Maseko and his team at BrandedYouth will oversee The Standard Bank Youth Expo at the Sandton Convention Centre in Joburg on 6 and 7 August 2016. The expo serves as a platform for brands to engage directly with young people. Topics such as the graduate recruitment programme, training and internships, small-business development and entrepreneurship will be covered in detail. The expo is open to all but aimed mainly at scholars and graduates with experience.

Furthermore, through the expo, Standard Bank and BrandedYouth aim to raise R3 million through sponsorship, exhibitor contributions and donations. The money raised will be donated to various tertiary institutions to aid and award bursaries to hardworking students.

Click here to find out more about The Standard Bank Youth Expo.

*Stats provided by BrandedYouth