Spot­light on youth unem­ploy­ment

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO BUSINESS - Muzi Zin­c­ume

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.

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