Tackling Youth Unemployment Through Skills Development

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South Africa’s high youth unemployment rate has long been one of the most pressing socio-economic problems faced in the country. Government plans to launch additional interventions to increase employment among the youth.

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According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the first quarter of 2022, the unemployment rate was 63,9% for those aged 15-24 and 42,1% for those aged 25-34 years.

One of the key contributors to South Africa’s youth unemployment rate sitting at these alarming rates, is that young work seekers lack sufficient skills, training development and work experience.

At the recent Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) meeting, Deputy President David Mabuza made a call for drastic measures to be taken and said that the country cannot move forward unless there are urgent interventions to address the challenges faced by the Department of Basic Education.

During his opening remarks, Mabuza stressed that the reality of the country’s current schooling and training system is that we have an unsustainable high number of young people who are unemployed.

Our ability to reverse rising levels of unemployment and poverty depends on our progress in delivering training and skills development programmes that will address the challenges we face at the moment.

He explained that something drastic needs to happen and the government needs to put measures in place to ensure that those who have lost employment and learning opportunities are able to bounce back through a package of skills and development and interventions that will create viable oppositions in their lives.

Mabuza says that for the country to win any fight against poverty and high levels of unemployment, it has to ensure that young people are empowered through education and training.

 “If we are to win the war against poverty, we must find ways to keep our children in school so that they can gain the necessary knowledge and skills to be active participants in our economy.”

Among other things that were discussed at the meeting, the deputy president also mentioned the National Digital and Future Skills Strategy. The Strategy seeks to address the development of digital skills relevant in the 21st century from early childhood development to post-school education and training.

Mabuza said that he hopes South Africa becomes more digitally adaptive, to ensure digital inclusivity for future generations.

“This will be possible if we establish an education and skills development ecosystem that provides South Africans with the required skills to create and participate in the digital economy.” he adds.

The government along with the Human Resource Development Council hopes to build the country’s human resource capacity that will ensure a prosperous and inclusive society that will make positive improvements on youth employment as well as the economy.


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