As the cost of living in South Africa rises, more unemployed individuals are beginning to buckle under the pressure of making ends meet.
Alison Boruchowitz, HR Executive at Omni HR Consulting, comments on the plight of more than six million jobless South Africans and discusses some relevant solutions to the unemployment crisis.
Why is unemployment high in SA?
According to Alison Boruchowitz high unemployment levels are due to past injustices and present realities.
“There is no disputing that the history of apartheid in South Africa contributed towards the unemployment statistics in South Africa, as previously disadvantaged groups were not exposed to higher levels of education, and this legacy amongst a number of other factors continues.”
Old educational systems, a lack of funding and discriminatory urban planning led to skills shortages amongst the poorest communities.
South Africa is still trying to “catch up” and correct the past wrongs, says Boruchowitz.
Today the slow growth of the economy combined with a growing labour market means that unemployment is a reality that millions of South Africans will face.
At the heart of the unemployment crisis is the mismatch between employee skills and industry needs.
“Supply is not at the skills level required.” explains Boruchowitz.
How can we reduce unemployment?
“Skills development allows for further education and will help in creating further opportunities and alleviate poverty and unemployment.”
To reduce unemployment SA must close the gap between the skills required by the industry and the skills currently being produced, suggests Boruchowitz.
“Work integrated learning and on the job training specific to business requirements have been shown to reap rewards and allow for a learner or employee to be better equipped in their workplace.”
While delivering basic education to the public is essential, South Africans need a higher education to tackle the unemployment crisis, argues Boruchowitz.
Boruchowitz highlights apprenticeships, learnerships and specific skills programmes as a means of reducing skills shortages.
“The days of skills training only being for those that attend tertiary learning institutions is a thing of the past; e-learning, specific programmes and initiatives, agility and change with the onset of Artificial Intelligence is a necessity. Highlighting and addressing skills shortages in non-traditional ways can also improve individual employability.”
While education is not the only solution it is definitely a leading weapon in the fight against unemployment.
What is Omni doing to tackle unemployment?
Omni HR Consulting offers accredited and non-accredited learning solutions, as well as customised HR and learning solutions for both small and large projects to a variety of clients.
“We are proud of our approach to consult and craft solutions in partnership with our clients,” says Boruchowitz.
Omni focuses heavily on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives, which include enterprise and supplier development to further address the development needs that beneficiaries have.
With this in mind Omni has partnered with one of South Africa’s largest retailers to tackle youth unemployment. Omni was selected as the training partner of choice to deliver on an eight week retail readiness programme. The programme composition is, three weeks of formal training, followed by five weeks of practical (in-store) training. A total of 18 300 have entered the programme since February 2016, which speaks volumes about the number of learners who are now equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to work within the retail sector. Of the total number of learners trained, a great deal has moved on to obtain employment within various roles.
Omni also understands that for many learners ongoing coaching and on-the-job assistance allows for greater success in learning and as such are proud of their – Work Integrated Learning model that is implemented on a number of programmes. This allows a coach to partner with a learner and assist them with the practical application of the theory. WIL has had a marked improvement in retention of learning and understanding and encourages learners to continue to learn and develop and add to their skills set.
“Omni is committed to tackling the unemployment challenges that we face in South Africa by engaging as many learners as possible, either as unemployed learners needing to gain basic skills to enter the job market, as well as those who are wanting to advance their careers,” says Boruchowitz..
All interventions affect the unemployed allowing for movement in the job market and positive movement in the labour market.
To find out more visit Omni HR Consulting and become part of the solution. Or call Omni HR consulting on (021) 685 9160 for more information about this and other training opportunities.