A lot of job opportunities require a minimum work experience of two to three years. But how does one find employment without this work experience?
Many people including graduates struggle to find jobs because they lack experience. They either end up in the wrong fields where they cannot perform well or lazing at home, unemployed. Yanga Qekeleshe from Dutywa said although he obtained a diploma in Cost and Management Accounting he has been working as a consultant in a bank for six years now and is still struggling to become an accountant because he doesn’t have experience in his course of study.
“I cannot seem to find a place that is willing to help me gain the required work experience so I can finally become an accountant,” he said. Students should be encouraged to seek part-time jobs and voluntary work in their fields of study to familiarise themselves with the working environment and gain experience before they graduate.
Linda Mtshiza, a graduate from Fort Hare University, said he started working during his first year on weekends and holidays to gain experience and earn some income. “It has helped me a lot because my CV now looks impressive and I know how to conduct myself at interviews,” he said.
Lee Rain, a graduate and BTech student at Walter Sisulu University worked part-time as a petrol attendant in a garage for two years while he was still in high school. From there he worked as a shop assistant for four years just to gain work experience.
“Last year I graduated, obtaining a Diploma in Marketing and worked as a marketing consultant at Real People. I’m now doing BTech in Business Administration and also working part-time at Mercedes Benz.” According to Stats SA, South Africa has the highest long-term youth unemployment rate of 48.2 percent between the ages 15 and 24. The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) offers a youth volunteering programme to help young people find jobs.
They also have Youth Build Project that offers a voluntary comprehensive programme to people between the ages of 18 to 35 that integrates academic achievement, work experience and leadership development.
Simphiwe Kondlo, CEO of East London IDZ said: “Youth unemployment is primarily due to the poor quality of our basic education institutions and what industries are requiring. Interventions for on-the-job-training are being hampered by the fact that industries are under pressure to compete and training becomes something they do reluctantly.