South Africa’s unemployment rate reached a new record high of 34.9% in the third quarter of 2021what is driving unemployment above crisis levels, says Kau Makgosa project leader at Economic Development Solutions.
“The government has recognized that current strategies need to be scaled up drastically to address the scale of the problem, in addition to looking for alternative approaches to building an engaged, economically active workforce.”
To combat the high unemployment rate, it is necessary to reintroduce workers’ skills and training, Makgosa said. This can help the youth acquire skills that will make them useful for employers while also helping South Africa recover economically.
Makgosa said South Africa needs more skilled workers such as farmers, artisans and traders.
Our country currently has to outsource these special manual skills, for example in mining and the construction of renewable energy systems, as local skilled workers are few and far between.
“Developing skills and training workers to meet these needs would be an effective way of dealing with high unemployment without job creation. Such jobs don’t need to be created – they already exist – we just need to make sure we have the skills on site. “
The National Development Plan aims to train 30,000 artisans annually by 2030, while the latest government figures show a shortage of 40,000 artisans in the country.
Changing the perception of working careers
Economic Development Solutions said promoting technical education or entrepreneurship at a young age in school curricula can make a significant difference in the number of unemployed people.
“Not everyone has what it takes to be a doctor, lawyer, accountant or rocket scientist, and these are not the only career prospects that pay well or lead to success.
“Instead, there are many more opportunities for individuals to realize their own potential by working in skilled areas such as construction, renewable energy, manufacturing and mining, to name a few,” said Makgosa.
To facilitate this, craft and technical skills training needs to be more readily available and accessible, especially in rural areas. More accredited craft schools are needed, in addition to an appropriate structure to oversee these facilities under the supervision of the Trade and Professions Quality Council to prevent the emergence of illegal colleges.
“In addition to technical vocational training schools (TVET), which offer the possibility of acquiring qualifications, companies must be encouraged to offer learning, internship and training positions in order to enable in-service training together with a realistic scholarship for the duration of such programs that enable individuals to cover basic living and transportation costs. “
Start with what we have
To counteract unemployment, the current opportunities, however limited, must be used to the full. For example, when renewable energy projects that are currently being tendered go into construction, regulations dictate that local people must be appointed to work on those projects, Makgosa said.
This means the appointment of local service providers, local supplier development and qualification programs. “In this area alone, there are 12 projects in the bid mitigation phase, which means there is tremendous potential for this industry and all of its supporting industries to become part of the supply chain for these projects,” noted Makgosa.
“Despite delays in these projects, there is a need to keep up the pressure because once these projects begin, foreign investment will be encouraged, which in turn will encourage other industries to invest in the supply chain for these projects as well. And only in one branch. “
Skills have to match the needs
At the individual level, it is important for young people thinking about their future to remember that the skills they seek must be relevant to the job opportunities available and that money rarely comes without investing the work to get the experience first to collect.
“At company level, companies have to think beyond BEE scorecards and ticks when it comes to learning and internship positions and actually offer young job seekers a part-time training that equips them for the real world of work and prepares them for permanent work.” Employment. “
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