2011 was declared a year of job creation by our government Through meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth, the government’s research indicated that we could create jobs in six priority areas – infrastructure development, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, the green economy and tourism.

That initiative has yielded very little improvement since 2011.

To date the local unemployment rate is 26.7 percent while the youth unemployment rate (ages 15 – 34) is at 38.2 percent according to Statistics South Africa. In our country it is very difficult to find employment after graduating from university let alone after  matriculating.

How then do we solve this growing issue? Ebrahim Matthews, managing director at Pearson South Africa offers a few suggestions.

“Solving this problem will not be easy, and requires greater collaboration between government, industry, education providers, educators and learners. Our education system needs to develop into an ecosystem specifically designed to prepare the youth to find employment,” says Matthews.

Getting to the bottom

The problem has to be solved at a school level, where students are equipped with the right skills to enable them for the job market, adds Matthews. Technology skills are in high demand in every sector of the employment industry and our schools need to find ways to collaborate these in their teaching methods.

According to Matthews, a meaningful dialogue is needed in order to discover what skills are required for each industry, once these are identified, a syllabus must be adapted to deliver skills in a relevant manner.

“Teachers will also need additional training to enable them to deliver the work in a way that will excite and help learners to learn, private sector can get involved by providing additional training teachers may require,” he adds.

Empowering learners

South Africa needs to educate the teachers on how to implement skills development at high school level, so that the teachers can begin to relate subject matter back to real world examples back to the students.

Matthews notes that we need to empower student with soft skills (personal attributes you need to succeed in the workplace) that will assist them in the 21st century workplace, examples of this is collaborative skills, since learners need to understand the concept of teamwork to be successful in a job.

“It is equally critical for better methods of learner evaluation to be established, as constant assessment of their learning curve will be crucial to their success,” he notes.

In conclusion

We are in the fourth industrial revolution where technology trends such as the Internet of Things, robotics, virtual reality and artificial intelligence are changing the way we live and work.

Because it has just been 24 years since we have freedom as a country, South Africa still faces significant challenges and the digital divide, which we will require a lot of assistance from  the technology industry if they are to be overcome.

“If we overcome this crisis, it is imperative that we ensure that the youth is adequately prepared for life after formal education, such preparation is possible but it will require close collaboration and complete acceptance from educators, learners and both public and private sector,” concludes Matthews.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]