The importance of work experience in job creation

More than 1.5 million South Africans with post-school qualifications are out of work. First-time job seekers, many of these bright young people remain unemployed or underemployed and most will end up taking jobs unrelated to their education just to earn a living.

Rajan Naidoo, managing director of the EduPower Skills Academy, said that although talented and smart, these graduates are simply not ready to work.

Employers are hesitant to offer jobs to these young people because they lack a work history and are unlikely to bring huge value in their first year of employment,” he said. -he explains.

Rajan added that in addition to these graduates, there are also many first-time job seekers who do not have post-school qualifications. Armed with a 12th grade, they have even less chance of landing a job. And the situation is even more serious for the many young South Africans without a grade 12 diploma.

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“All of this is on top of massive youth unemployment and unemployability that is entrenched in our economy,” Rajan said.

Rajan believes there are a number of factors that impact employability and offers workable solutions:

1. Professional skills: Most young job seekers lack the work-ready technical skills that can generate a return on investment for employers within the first 12 months. This includes life skills related to maturity in the workplace and includes an understanding of working relationships, labor rights, performance management, personal financial management, setting long term goals and career guidance.

2. Vocational guidance: We must ensure that young people studying in higher education choose courses that are suitable for the labor market and which will help the candidate to become economically active. Vocational guidance is essential for young people to understand their choice in relation to economic demand and their aptitudes.

3. Relaxed labor laws: South Africa should introduce legislation that allows employers (particularly small businesses) to reduce the risk of employment when hiring job seekers for the first time without professional references or work history, at least during the first 12 months.

4. Bridging programs: We need to strengthen and fund apprenticeship and internship programs to help fill gaps in skills, experience and work readiness for new workers. These programs must have components that provide work readiness life skills.

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5. Focus on the result: B-BBEE in its design is commendable, but many companies reluctantly apply a compliance mentality with minimal care to ensure that the investment they make in the skills component is actually life changing for the recipient. This also applies to business and supplier development. Partnering with the right skills provider is not just about the lowest costs and tax savings, but also about sustainable and positive results for the beneficiaries.

6. Simple and inexpensive solutions: B-BBEE and other funding initiatives must focus on the economic future of young people. For low-skilled and under-educated young people, we need to build skills through lower-level apprenticeships and entrepreneurial opportunities. An example is Cooking with Basic Business Skills, a training that will enable a young person to run a street food outlet. This, however, requires support in skills, logistics and equipment. However, at relatively low cost, we could create an economically active young person who will become financially independent. This is just one example among many of a simple, inexpensive and scalable solution.

Rajan said that given the unrest in South Africa last year, it is more important than ever that we do all we can to create employment opportunities for our young people.

The answer is simple: every stakeholder, whether business, labor, government or civil society, must embrace and recognize the seriousness of our youth unemployment problem and behave in a way that will bring about a collective solution rather than in a narrow and self-serving way. that’s the goal for most,” he explained.

“The social impact of unemployment not only creates casualties among the poor, but touches all of our lives – and this touchpoint will only intensify with growing inequality until it reaches a new level again. critical mass for a collapse.”

“We can change the current trajectory of our nation. Many of the solutions are simple but require a radical shift in our values ​​and principles across all sectors of our society,” Rajan concluded.

Maria D. Ervin