Gov To Provide Social Work Graduates With Opportunities

The level of unemployment amongst social work graduates is a major concern. Government now seeks to address this with social development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, saying that more graduates will be absorbed into the system.


The Department of Social Development is now planning to provide social work graduates with job opportunities in the public sector.

We are the first to acknowledge that we have a very high number of unemployed social work graduates. This is a serious concern in light of the prevailing socio-economic challenges and social ills confronting our country.

The Department is in talks with Basic Education, SAPS, Correctional Services, Defence and Home Affairs on how many graduates they have hired and how much more they have space for.

Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, said “The ability of provincial departments to absorb graduates due to vacancies arising from natural attrition is monitored and reported on a regular basis within the Department of Social Development structures".

According to the department’s records, the overall number of unemployed social work graduates currently stands at 8 873. 4 829 were funded by the department, while the remaining 4 044 were self-funded or funded through other means

I can confirm that the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) has placed approximately 1 000 interns in all provinces for work experience for a period of two years. These placements have been funded by the HWSETA.

- Minister Lindiwe Zulu

200 permanent social workers across all provinces to focus specifically on GBV.  

1 300 social workers on contract to provide psychosocial support to families infected and affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These social workers were recruited from the social work graduate database.

National Treasury granted R33 million to the department for the contract employment of social workers. Following the expiry of the three-month contracts, the Presidential Employment Intervention Expenditure was evaluated, and an amount of R 75.9 million was made available to sustain the employment of these graduates until 31 March 2021. 

- Minister Lindiwe Zulu

In the Free State, social work graduates have been given permanent opportunities and the Minister encourages other provinces to follow.

“It is important to highlight that we have actually recorded some progress to address this situation, but much more still needs to be done.” 

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