JOHANNESBURG - South African youth need to possess certain skills and characteristics above and beyond academic qualifications to penetrate the entry-level job market, this is the view of Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator.
Lebo Nke, Harambee executive for advocacy and partnerships, in an interview with African News Agency (ANA) on Thursday said degrees were not the most important criteria when it comes to hiring, but said that employers must also look at behaviour, attitudes and learning capabilities of candidates.
"Most employers are saying young people are not ready for work. And when you start to understand what 'ready for work' means, they don't mean technical skills. They mean behavioural things like discipline, attitude, energy, curiosity, a sense of realism, and punctuality," Nke said.
"These are the things we address in our work-readiness programme. Some of these young people you find that they have been rejected a lot and their confidence has taken a knock. We also see a lot of young people who get into any opportunity even when they are not interested in, and we at Harambee we try to match their interests and skills with, and this is why we see a gap between graduates and employment. Qualifications do not mean you are ready for work."
Harambee is a not-for-profit social enterprise tackling youth unemployment by giving them work-seeker support while partnering with more than 500 employers to curb the runaway unemployment rate among young people.