While South Africa has made multiple strides since the dawn of democracy in 1994,
there are serious economic challenges that remain. The low number of jobs that the
economy has created, even in higher growth cycles, suggests that the issue of
unemployment is structural in nature. The challenge of unemployment is more acute
among young people, who often battle to get absorbed into the formal labour market
owing to a variety of factors. One of the factors often cited by employers is the dearth
of requisite skills among the young potential job entrants.
State owned companies, whose mandate extends beyond mere financial returns, are
taking the lead in supporting the broader socio-economic developmental goals of
government. There are several skills development initiatives by state owned
companies for young people aimed at ensuring their economic participation. An
inductive study was conducted to observe existing skills development initiatives
targeted at young people by state owned companies with the aim of finding the optimal
approaches for reducing the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
A mixed research approach was adopted through interviews with individuals who were
identified as key stakeholders on youth skills development. A survey of young people
who have taken part in the skills development programs of state owned companies was
also conducted in order to obtain broader views on this subject.
The results found that while current programs are making a small impact on reducing
the skills gap, challenges still remain. The results also revealed that various state
affiliated entities need to collaborate in order to harmonise their skills development
programs to the national imperatives. The research also found huge challenges exist
in the TVET college system, which is crucial to reducing the skills gap among the
youth. The research also found that, while young people appreciated the training
opportunities given, many were discouraged from the programs by various factors.
The private business sector was also urged to be more supportive of state efforts to
stimulate economic growth and absorb more young people.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2015.