Glum fu­ture for grad­u­ates with­out jobs

Sunday Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - NABEELAH SHAIKH

MORE than 2 000 Dur­ban grad­u­ates re­ceived their qual­i­fi­ca­tions over the past 10 days, but if statis­tics are any­thing to go by, their chances of em­ploy­ment re­main bleak.

With a large num­ber of for­mer grad­u­ates still seek­ing un­em­ploy­ment, and more than 3 mil­lion young South Africans with­out jobs as high­lighted by Statis­tics SA’S quar­terly labour force statis­tics, new grad­u­ates are con­cerned.

Last week, the Dur­ban Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy cel­e­brated its Septem­ber grad­u­a­tion sea­son with 1 029 stu­dents grad­u­at­ing, mostly from the fac­ulty of engi­neer­ing and the built en­vi­ron­ment as well as the Fac­ulty of Health Sciences.

The Univer­sity of Kwazu­lu­na­tal also saw 1 503 grad­uands – 58% of whom were women – re­ceive de­grees at its first spring grad­u­a­tion. Many hold­ing elite de­grees in fields such as engi­neer­ing, law, ed­u­ca­tion and ac­count­ing, also re­main un­em­ployed.

Stats SA’S lat­est un­em­ploy­ment statis­tics said that only 7.4% of grad­u­ates re­mained un­em­ployed. They painted a dif­fer­ent pic­tured.

When a so­cial me­dia post was put up this week call­ing for un­em­ployed grad­u­ates to share their sto­ries, grad­u­ates from across all fields raised their con­cerns, some say­ing only a hand­ful who grad­u­ated in their classes had se­cured jobs ei­ther in or out of their fields.

Some have had to set­tle for lower-paid jobs while oth­ers were hop­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties would be cre­ated for them.

Prom­ise Xaba, from Mayville, who holds a de­gree in ed­u­ca­tion, said she had been un­em­ployed for three years.

She said she was des­per­ate to find a job and had even been ap­ply­ing to su­per­mar­kets for any job they could of­fer her.

“But the en­vi­ron­ment is so tough that even with a de­gree, su­per­mar­kets can­not em­ploy you. I have been run­ning back and forth to the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and I go to schools al­most daily to drop off my CVS, with no luck for three years,” said Xaba.

Andile Sibeko, who has a de­gree in elec­tronic engi­neer­ing, said af­ter two years of job-hunt­ing, he was at break­ing point and set­tled for a job at a lo­cal store in Kwa­mashu, as a mer­chan­diser.

An­other Dur­ban grad­u­ate Ashiel Singh, who has a civil engi­neer­ing de­gree, said he was tired of be­ing un­em­ployed and had been in the job mar­ket as a grad­u­ate for more than two years.

“When you’re choos­ing a ca­reer path, you’re told that engi­neer­ing is a great field and you will def­i­nitely have a pros­per­ous fu­ture. Com­pa­nies come through in your first year and talk to you about po­ten­tial op­por­tu­ni­ties but when you reach the end, the en­vi­ron­ment has changed so much that they no longer have op­por­tu­ni­ties for you,” said Singh.

DUT cel­e­brated its Septem­ber grad­u­a­tion sea­son with 1 029 stu­dents grad­u­at­ing last week.

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