Youth unemployment has increased at an alarming rate over the last few years.
Recent statistics released by the Stats SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey indicate the rate of unemployment among youth is more than double that in older sectors of the population.
Three million South Africans aged between 15 and 24 are neither employed nor pursuing higher education.
“Youth find it difficult to adapt to the work environment and to bridge the gap between being a student and being able to cope in the corporate world.
“The fast-paced environment coupled with the intense workload is overwhelming. They also have limited skills to operate a computer, which poses an additional challenge, given that most jobs require a candidate to be computer proficient,” says Victoria Jacobs, partnership manager at the youth development NGO Afrika Tikkun.
Teboho Kabai, a 21-year-old Rosettenville resident who was born in Bloemfontein, didn’t let these challenges prevent her from getting a job.
After completing her matric in 2015 at the Prestasie School of Achievement in Germiston, she began job hunting, and heard through a friend about Afrika Tikkun’s ReadytoWork programme.
ReadytoWork, which is run in partnership with training provider Unlock’D and sponsored by 12 companies, including specialised financial technology company Synthesis Software Technologies, empowers youth with basic computing and work-readiness skills to access career opportunities.
After contacting Afrika Tikkun to enquire about the programme, Kabai was sponsored through Synthesis Software Technologies’ learnership programme.
She successfully completed 12 months of intensive theory and practical training and a five-month internship at GlaxoSmithKline.
On April 30, Kabai graduated with an NQF Level 3 in End User Computing, accredited by the Media Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (Mict Seta), and is now permanently employed as a personal assistant to the senior manager in the operations and business services department at Unlock’D.
Kabai says her proudest accomplishment in life is completing the learnership programme and gaining employment.
She attributes her success to her late father, who was a pillar of strength and encouragement throughout her life.
“My father encouraged me to believe in myself and follow my dreams. He taught me to persevere and to grab on to opportunities,” she explains.
Her advice to unemployed youth is to have a positive attitude and to believe in yourself and your abilities.
“The challenges you encounter in life will teach you valuable lessons and will contribute to your growth and development. Don’t let others’ doubts hold you back in life.
“When presented with a challenging situation, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep trying until you succeed,” says Kabai.
Her immediate plans are to gain valuable experience in her new job, and to work her way up into a senior position. She plans to further her studies by enrolling in a project management course at a tertiary institution.
Kabai believes it is important to work hard, but also to allow time for enjoyment. In her spare time, she enjoys playing netball, reading novels and cooking.
Synthesis Software Technologies, together with Afrika Tikkun and training provider Unlock’D, awarded certificates to 16 unemployed youth at a graduation ceremony held at Waverley Sports Club on April 30.
The learners, who reside in disadvantaged communities across Johannesburg, successfully completed the Synthesis’ learnership programme, graduating with an NQF Level 3 in End User Computing, accredited by Mict Seta.
The 12-month training programme, which incorporates both practical and theoretical computer proficiency training, is an annual initiative that started in May 2017 with the first intake of learners.
Of the 16 learners who graduated, three have received offers for permanent employment.
In addition, Synthesis has awarded bursaries to two learners to further their studies through an A+ certification programme specialising in installing, maintaining, customising, and operating personal computers, and a Network+ certification to qualify as a network administrator.
The remaining 11 learners will be enrolled into a business course for the following 12 months and will work towards attaining an NQF Level 4 certificate accredited by the Mict Seta.
* To find out more about Afrika Tikkun’s ReadytoWork programme, visit an Afrika Tikkun centre in your area or call 011 325 5914.
Candidates must have a matric certificate and be between the ages of 19 and 29.
All successful candidates will complete a preassessment test to qualify for the initiative.