Dave Savides
2 minute read
26 Feb 2018
1:46 pm

Unemployed graduates receive assistance

Dave Savides

Valuable local research could assist unemployed graduates to find jobs or become self-employed.

Chris Mkhize, together with Ken MacKay, facilitated the research

Valuable local research could assist unemployed graduates to find jobs or become self-employed, Zululand Observer reports.

Concerned over their plight, Chris Mkhize and Ken MacKay, both former employees of the University of Zululand, conducted the study through funding made available by two corporate organisations through the uThungulu Community Foundation.

READ MORE: SA unemployment rate remains stagnant at 27.7% for third quarter

“Via social and printed media we sent out invitations and expected 11 unemployed graduates to our focus group meeting in Richards Bay on 8 February, but no fewer than 72 – of whom 80% were females – attended to share their experiences,” said Mkhize.

“This study used what is known as participatory action research, rather than data collection, which involves doing research with, and for, the people involved.

“In this regard, the action researcher is seen as a facilitator, evaluator and empowerer of the change process.”

The methodology consisted of a combination of face-to-face interviews with the unemployed graduates, a group discussion, and then the use of individually distributed questionnaires.

“The data collected helped the researchers understand the expectation of the subjects, their needs and what they had done in the past to secure jobs or work towards self-employment,” said Mkhize.

The majority of respondents claimed to have degrees in social sciences or education, both of which fields appeared to have an oversupply of graduates.

“Most did not have mathematics, English, accounting and science in their tertiary qualification degrees.

‘They also did not have experiential or internship training and had underdeveloped English communication skills essential for work.

“Absence of a culture of reading publications and books was also observed in the responses of most respondents.

“The majority agreed the school system did not prepare them properly for the world of work.

“Unwillingness to relocate from Richards Bay/Empangeni to other areas also limited access to jobs,” said Mkhize.

Way forward

The foundation was requested to arrange meetings between local unemployed graduates and private and public sector organisations.

“They would like to have direct talks with local potential employers, to learn from each other, particularly to find ways and means of addressing the plight of unemployed graduates, who requested that the foundation agree to remain their permanent partner within the local municipality.

Among others, the UCF committed to:

• Help unemployed research graduates structure, write and produce scientific research reports;

• Provide the unemployed graduates with skills and techniques required for job hunting, become successful entrepreneurs or establish self-managed business enterprises;

• Arrange face to face meetings with private and public-sector organisations;

• Investigate allegations of unfair staff appointments and promotions in private and public sector organisations by way of public debates, so that all can compete fairly for all available jobs and promotions.

SA unemployment rate remains stagnant at 27.7% for third quarter

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