Spotlight on youth unemployment
ADDRESSING youth unemployment will remain a pipe dream unless work experience as a prerequisite for employment is discarded.
This was the sentiment of Philani Shefula, a member of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), at a youth imbizo at the Ngwelezana Community Hall on Tuesday.
Shefula, who also chairs the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), said it was painful that young people remained oppressed, even in the new dispensation.
‘Young people are encouraged to become educated and when they do acquire their qualifications, they are told they need work experience first, before they can be considered.
‘The government keeps shifting the goal posts.
You don’t obtain work experience by reading a book, but by entering the workplace.’
He said learnership, internship and voluntary work programmes should be classified as work experience to enable young job seekers to obtain employment.
‘Having a high number of unemployed graduates in a country such as ours is a recipe for disaster,’ he warned.
Addressing the packed hall, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said she was touched by the plight of unemployed young people and saw the need to intervene.
‘My department is in the process of amending employment equity laws to ensure that only companies that comply with the law can do business with government.’
Oliphant encouraged the youth to register their skills with the Department’s Public Employment Services (PES) to ensure they are included on the data base.