Upskilling South Africa’s Youth: High on the Agenda for 2017
Now that 2017 is well underway, it’s interesting to observe the latest group of South African matriculants as they take steps towards entering the job market in the near future. Of the 828,020 candidates who wrote the National Senior Certificate exam last year, 162,374 qualified for university, 179,619 for diploma study and 100,486 for certificate study. Overall, 26% of the 2016 matriculates passed with the basic requirements to enter university.
That said, today’s youth face many challenges when it comes to finding sustainable employment in South Africa, even with tertiary education. This is primarily due to the country’s high youth unemployment rate which has averaged at over 50% during the last three years.
Following Zuma’s speech at the State of the Nation Address of 2017, Deputy Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Buti Manamela said that it was a call to action to the government as a whole to make education a key priority and to ensure that issues such as access to information and technology are at the top of the agenda.
And while governments, businesses and society will need to unite collectively in order to address these pressing issues, there is something that the youth can do to up their chances of cracking into the job market and securing long-term employment i.e. upskilling.
Richard Rayne, CEO of iLearn – a leading local learning solutions business offering onsite and online training solutions to address critical skills shortages – explains, “Low levels of education, and the lack of qualifications, experience and work readiness are all often cited as reasons why it is so much harder for young job seekers to secure employment . . . Luckily, these are factors that motivated individuals can address by taking charge of their own skills development.”
Today, more accessible and affordable learning environments are available to help the youth upskill and enter highly competitive job markets. According to Rayne, choosing a quality, accredited provider is imperative. “You want the qualifications you gain through your own effort to be reputable and recognised,” he says. “It’s also important to be well aware of your interests, passions and strengths so you develop yourself in a direction that is meaningful to you and the future you want.”
So, why should today’s youth upskill?
In addition to South Africa’s unemployment rate, the nation is facing an ever-deepening skills shortage which hinders economic growth and transformation. Today’s youth boast the opportunity to develop skills that trade and industry desperately need right now as well as in the future. But there are personal gains to upskilling too, such as:
- Demonstrating perseverance, innovation and a thirst for success which is advantageous in the job market
- Investing in one’s own professional and personal development thereby moving towards a better role in a current or future organisation.
- Gaining critical knowledge in areas of business, technology and languages that are instrumental in shaping one’s career.
As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, today’s youth are no longer confined to brick and mortar campuses in order to obtain qualifications. Online learning offers many benefits that appeal to younger generations including flexibility and the ability to work at one’s own pace and in an environment of one’s own choosing. This also lends itself to the possibility of studying further as students who are already enrolled at universities or colleges can take additional courses to broaden their skillsets. Similarly, youths who are on a gap year or have failed to gain entry into a tertiary institution can look towards online studies as a means of developing relevant skills for the working world.
Although there are very few requirements when it comes to online education, basic computer literacy and an internet connection is essential. But as digitalisation in Africa (and South Africa in particular) continues to boom, access to digital devices and internet connections is becoming more and more common, which is why online training courses are now increasingly popular.
iLearn offers a wide range of online training programmes that today’s youth can use to develop sought after computer, IT, business and language skills. Contact us today to find out more.