President Ramaphosa called for it – and Odyssey can help deliver!

Kevin Distiller

South Africa is currently being hit with a wave of optimism – Jacob Zuma’s presidency is finally over, and Cyril Ramaphosa’s term in office is about to begin!

While these political trends can only bode well for the long term future of the youth and the Class of 2017, who have just begun to enter the workforce, the reality is that short term opportunities for employment are still rather low. Entering the workforce is unlikely to be easy for these young people. At a time when matriculants and graduates ought to be contemplating various future prospects for study and work, joblessness lurks as an increasingly likely post-education reality.

In fact, according to Equal Education (EE), many youngsters battle to find a first job, despite actively (and sometimes desperately) searching. Even government’s attempt to create jobs via an Employment Tax Incentive (a.k.a. the Youth Wage Subsidy) has failed to bear much fruit. In fact, as stated in an article on politicsweb, the difficult truth is that even the educationally privileged among the Class of 2017 will find the current post-education environment to be severely lacking in employment opportunities. This is because South Africa’s unemployment rate has been rising steady over the past nine years, and is now sitting at 27.7% – higher than Botswana, Namibia, Gabon and Algeria.

The reason for this is that our labour market cannot absorb the large numbers of young, new entrants. And while employers seek high-skilled workers, there is an oversupply of low-skilled workers – a structural mismatch between labour demand and supply.

But all is not lost. In January, our now president Cyril Ramaphosa promised to facilitate paid work for jobless youth and announced that South Africa should do more to redress youth poverty and unemployment.

He comments:

“Many of them lack the requisite skills to meet the demands of a modern and diversified economy. Many of those who have an education and skills continue to face marginalisation in the economy since many employers prefer experienced workers. We need to agree on a social compact that will absorb many of our young people in skills training programmes‚ internships and employment opportunities.

“This year will see the implementation of the Youth Employment Service‚ which has the potential to revolutionise the absorption of young people into the labour market‚” he said.

“The result of collaboration between social partners‚ this initiative aims to place a million unemployed youth in paid internships over the next three years.”

Odyssey Talent Management is really excited about this initiative, and believe that it fits neatly into our mission of empowering marginalised section of our labour force, and assisting them get a foot in the door, and begin building successful and meaningful careers.

As the only South African provider of a gamefied, skills-based assessment that is designed especially for people who have never worked before, or who want to enter the workplace in first line, semi-skilled and blue collar roles, we believe that we can assist the president with this ambitious goal. This is because we are able to assist in identifying not only which candidates are ready to begin their careers today, but also what skills gaps exist for those who may not be ready yet. This can facilitate targeted learning and development programmes to assist those people to close these gaps, so that their career journey can begin.

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