South Africa to introduce specialised short-courses to help people find work: Ramaphosa

February 17, 2020
Posted in Article
February 17, 2020 Tumelo Moloi

President Cyril Ramaphosa will introduce a number of new initiatives to get unemployed young South Africans into jobs.

Writing in his weekly open letter to South Africa, Ramaphosa said that the ‘Presidential Youth Employment Intervention’ will include new short-courses which will help upskill workers so that they can be more easily hired by the private sector.

“Specialised short focused courses in skills that employers need now will be organised,” he said.

“This aims to address the problem of a mismatch between the existing educational, training and development programmes and the requirements of the economy.”

Ramaphosa said that work is already being done in this area, including a programme currently underway through the departments of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to train 1,000 young students in the Free State in agricultural and other skills.

The president said that the government will also focus on entrepreneurship to create jobs.

“Many young people want to start their own businesses. They lack the technical skills that can help them start their own businesses,” he said.

“The intervention will support the growth of youth entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is certainly not a panacea, but I am convinced that it is one effective and proven way to confer identity and purpose, a sense of belonging, and hope for the future for the youth.”

No skills

Data published by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday (11 February) shows that the country’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 29.1% during the fourth quarter of 2019.

With this reading, South Africa has the fourth-highest unemployment rate out of 182 countries tracked by Trading Economics, after Namibia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Angola.

Despite this high unemployment rate, companies are battling to find skilled workers.

The latest World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report ranked the skills of the South African workforce as 101st out of 141 countries – i.e. in the bottom third of economies assessed.

The skillset of graduates ranked 102nd while the digital skills among the active population ranked a dismal 126th. Due to these issues, the ease of finding skilled employees also ranked poorly at 98th.

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