Today is a public holiday in South Africa in celebration of Youth Day; a commemorative day to reflect on the strength of youth in our struggle for democracy.
It’s disheartening that as we now also celebrate the youth of today, young adults are troubled by a lack of access to higher education and low prospects of acquiring a job.
The Spectator Index recently ranked the country’s youth joblessness rate as the highest in the world at 52.7%. Greece follows this with 36.8%, Spain (34.9%), Nigeria (33.1%) and Italy (32.5%) – clearly, as a country, South Africa is failing its youth.
In response to this, at the recent ANC NEC lekgotla, South Africa's governing party declared unemployment a national emergency. The plan is to reduce unemployment figures from the current 27% (as indicated by StatsSA in Q4 2018), which excludes those no longer seeking employment, to 14% in just five years.
Meanwhile, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also launched the Youth Employment Service Initiative. This initiative aims to provide young people with work opportunities – not jobs – in the next three years.
However, according to the Artisan Training Institute (ATI), the best approach is to invest in local manufacturing and skills development.
It will be up to the private sector to get involved here.
Companies should invest in artisan training, while also motivating young people to consider artisan training as an attractive career opportunity, states the ATI.
They have a valid point, but how do you attract today’s digitally-savvy youth into a perceived lower-end career such as an electrician or fitter and turner.
Are you as a youth prepared to take up a trade?
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Until next time.