To The Jobless | #MyFridayStory №217

Image | Pexels

We can’t stand aside and do nothing as millions have no means of providing for their families.

The situation is dire for so many out of work — young and old, of colour and white, the experienced and school leavers, previously disadvantaged and previously privileged, business owners and their employees — all left stranded.

South Africa can now boast of having the highest unemployment rate in the world

With the combination of a shocking education system, outdated labour laws, the prolonged pandemic, and decades of massive fiscal ineptitude, many South Africans face the perfect storm. The fallout left in the aftermath of such a calamity is not pretty, and all signs are it’s about to get worse.

The number of high school students graduating with STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) has fallen to an all-time low. Many high school students see having a degree or diploma as a differentiator. But graduating without the wrong subjects, they only qualify for over-subscribed disciplines.

Thus, the qualification becomes the goal, not the learning.

Education is still regarded by many as the only option to try to guarantee employment. For many of the generations under apartheid, one of the surest tickets out of the township was a university degree. Those few that managed to achieve such a difficult and lofty goal enjoyed a high social standing.

But over the years, our standard of education now leaves many graduates unemployable. The pursuit of quality education becomes a pursuit of qualifications — ticking them off as we collect them. This is in the hope that it will give them a better chance of employment.

In many instances, it doesn’t, and it won’t.

But what about the uneducated? For them, the possibility of finding work is about as small as the social grant. Without basic schooling, skills or experience, the chance of gainful employment is minuscule. Then there are the older folk — left without work and that don’t hold other qualifications. They have it as tough. The only legal options — accept the meagre basic unemployment grant or enter the informal sector.

The informal sector, or more particularly in South African terms — the township economy — makes up 18% of the South African annual GDP. High street retailers running out of margin are moving into the under-served townships. The sheer size of this market makes it highly attractive for brands. Developers looking to capitalise are building giant shopping malls in the areas. There are mixed feelings about the big brands with their big budgets sweeping in and disrupting what was once a thriving economy. This could push unemployment up further.

Many people are crying out for decent employment.

People are desperate to feel worthy and appreciated for the value they add. Everyone has something they can do or develop into a skill. This can be used to add value that can be passed on — sold — to someone else. Corporations and skills development providers are driving initiatives and programs that deserve our support. They’re organised by people who care enough and are tired of waiting for someone else.

These folks are making a difference in the lives of real people.

For our new graduates, here’s a list of the most critical qualifications and skills needed in South Africa today as published by the Department of Home Affairs.

HT — Beth Cook @Progression

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏




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Frans Nel

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