Big business can help jobless youth

Market watchers are nervously awaiting the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the second quarter,Picture: Getty Images

Unemployment queues in South Africa are becoming longer and longer, especially for young people.

This has resulted in the worst youth unemployment rate and experts have called on graduate programmes to play a bigger role in a bid to curb this growth.

According to Statistics South Africa, the unemployment rate increased to 27.7% in the first quarter of 2017 from 26.5% in the previous period.

It is the highest jobless rate since the first quarter of 2004, as unemployment rose faster than employment and more people joined the labour force.

As the country was celebrating Youth Day last week Friday, ManpowerGroup South Africa managing director, Lyndy van den Barselaar, highlighted the role businesses can play in assisting to combat youth unemployment in South Africa.

She said South African youths, between the ages of 15 and 34, are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than other groups.

This represents both widespread personal misfortunes for individuals and a lost opportunity for critical national economic development.

“While the issue of youth unemployment is multifaceted, it is important that businesses recognise their ability in assisting to combat youth unemployment and close the skills gap between what is learned through education and what needs to be applied in the workplace. One of the ways this is done is through graduate programmes,” Van den Barselaar said.

She said economic success and failure is increasingly being determined by how companies and individuals

strategically acquire and develop relevant skills, which highlights the importance of education and training programmes as key to success in the labour market.

ManpowerGroup South Africa, through its partnership with the Maharishi Institute, offers a graduate programme that provides a work experience framework for selected graduates, and helps to create innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions for employing more young workers, both at ManpowerGroup South Africa and among its clients.

The Maharishi Institute is a non-profit organisation established in June 2007, which provides financial access to the qualifications of its education partners, which students access via distance education while gaining work experience.

The institute also enriches the distance learning experience and makes it complete through the provision of comprehensive support services, including work experience, infrastructure access, bridging programmes and self-development programmes.

“Graduate programmes have the power to help young people reach their full human potential and contribute positively to enterprises and societies,” Van den Barselaar said.

Nohlanhla Maseko