Fast little loans
In his recent State of the Nation address, President Jacob Zuma said the unemployment rate had declined.
“During 2011, a total of 365 000 people were employed.
“This is the country’s best performance since the recession of 2008,” he said.
But, he said, we were not out of the woods yet and still faced the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
Zuma encouraged South Africans to come together to tackle these issues.
“We fully support the inspiring speech made by the president,” says Kay Vittee, CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions.
“We applaud the government on the realistic representation of the state of the country, as well as the attainable goals set for the year ahead.
“We also hope that all South African businesses will take up the mantle of making this vision of combating unemployment and inequality a reality.
Vittee believes that the president was right to point out that many young people are unemployed because of their lack of skills and experience required for many jobs.
“It’s up to us. As businesses, we need to equip them with the necessary proficiencies that they will need not only to become employed, but to ensure job security for the future,” she says.
“For example, we have found that a large portion of unemployed young people lack basic computer skills.”
To remedy this, Quest has developed a free e-learning tutorial on Microsoft Office Suite.
The initiative, called “Quest for Knowledge,” is available at www.quest.co.za to anyone keen to enhance their computer skills, which will in turn, open more doors to employment.
Vittee stresses that while it is vital to equip young people with essential skills, it is equally important to create opportunities for them to gain experience.
“For this reason, a number of recruitment companies offer effective training solutions which expose jobseekers to the working environment, thus enabling them to practise and apply skills and gain valuable experience.
“At Quest, for instance, we offer vocationally based learning programmes that enable our staff to attain nationally recognised Higher Education and Training Certificates in a variety of fields, producing skilled graduates and creating employment opportunities for them,” she says.
“Moreover, if businesses were to relax their expectations on experience as a critical requirement, they would create greater job access to unemployed youth and make a difference in their lives by allowing them to gain valuable professional and life experience with in-house learnerships. This, coupled with the government’s plans for improvements in infrastructure, which will create more jobs, will see a drastic improvement in the employment rate.”
Furthermore, as Zuma stated, inequality in business still plagues SA.
“Quest has done its utmost to initiate business strategies which allow for transformation, and recently became one of the leading gender empowerment ownership structures in the staffing industry, with a 67.5 percent black ownership and a 32.4 percent black female ownership.
“We understand that the pursuit for empowerment and transformation is never-ending and will continue to commit and contribute to this,” Vittee says.
“The president said the government alone could not solve the challenges faced by the country, but by working together, solutions were possible.
“Leading white-collar recruitment companies need to take into account that we play an active economic and social role and are a critical intermediary between the unemployed and corporate SA and thus instrumental in assisting in bringing about more employment opportunities, as well as making South Africans more employable.
“At Quest, we have ensured that we are able to screen more than 100 000 candidates every month as well as set the goal of placing first time job-seekers in permanent positions within a 12-month period.
“Therefore, we are not only able to assist in combating employment issues timeously, but we are also able to provide the best candidates to businesses and hence, contribute to the productivity of a company.
“Through the collective efforts of government and business we can, as the State of the Nation address explains, ‘begin to write a new story about SA – the story of how, working together, we can drive back unemployment and reduce economic inequality and poverty.”