WITH an estimated quarter of a million new jobseekers fresh out of school currently looking for work the matter of skills, or the lack thereof, is a burning issue.
The majority of matriculants are not equipped with skills that make them employable.
“Lack of proper career guidance, experience and exposure at schools means fresh matriculants will struggle to find work,” says Stacey Francis of Business World, a tertiary business school based in the city centre.
“Children are basing their career choices on limited information, and are not keeping up to date with economic trends. Economics should be a compulsory subject at school.”
Without practical business experience and higher-level training, the reality is that many pupils who have worked hard for their matric certificates will not be able to find a job and, those who can, will start at the bottom of the career chain with limited chances to develop.
“Pupils who have a qualification are lacking in experience,” says Francis. “When placed in the business world, it would take another year to apply what they have learnt, with very few businesses willing to take on a pupil without experience.”
This is where industries need to come on board and assist the skills-development process in our country.
“We are so excited to have partnered with The African Conservation Trust, Umvithi Youth Consultants and Nofesa that have committed to taking on 15 interns at their company for the year.
“This means that, not only will the students complete the year with their NQF level five, they will also have gained practical experience within a company,” said Francis.
Many school leavers look to training colleges and other institutions to gain a tertiary qualification that will allow them to offer a valid skills base in the challenging job market.
Francis and a group of local community members recognised a shortfall in the business environment in relation to fresh matriculants and established the Business World Development Trust (BWDT) in direct response to this.
“The purpose of the trust is to assist those students who cannot afford to study,” said Francis. The trust is a non-profit organisation that assists school leavers from a community upliftment and social responsibility perspective.
The vision of the trust is given practical application through the Business World College, which opened in Chief Albert Luthuli Street (Commercial Road) in 2011.
Here students are given the skills and development necessary for them to carve their own space within the job market.
It is a model that, through growth, has the potential to make a real impact on socioeconomic development in the labour sector in the country under the auspices of the Skills Development Act.
There are ample opportunities for local businesses to “Adopt a Student”.
Students at Business World are involved in a practical curriculum, where they leave after one year with an NQF level-five qualification as well as practical experience through the institution’s partnerships with recruitment agencies.
They will then complete their mandatory workplace hours and build their CVs to make them meaningful contenders on the job market. On completion of the general management course, Business World also helps with placement for those not interested in starting their own business ventures.
For those among the student body who are interested in starting their own ventures, Business World creates the opportunities necessary for graduates to recognise a new venture, and endows them with the skills to make themselves successful entrepreneurs.
• For more information about Business World, please visit their website on www.business-world.co.za