Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi has encouraged job seekers not to undermine certain reliable job opportunities available to them on the back of South Africa’s unemployment crisis.
Nxesi yesterday launched the Jobs Fair initiative and the Public Employment Services (PES) buses at Nasrec in Johannesburg.
“Taking an entry-level job might lead to processes of discovery of talents and skills that you have. You will never know what you are good at unless you try,” Nxesi said.
“Use our labour centres to talk to employment practitioners and counsellors for advice, seek out mentors and trusted people that can help you during your job search journey.”
The Jobs Fair aims to create an opportunity for work seekers to meet with prospective employers and other organisations or departments that may assist with their placement in various employment or learning opportunities.
Nxesi also hosted the employer breakfast session, which was intended to discuss labour market issues, including growth prospects with the potential to create jobs, as well as clarify strategic policy issues that can enhance employment creation.
Nxesi’s department also launched 14 buses for the Public Employment Services (PES) unit to reach out to work seekers across the country.
The buses, which have been funded by the European Union, will be distributed across all provinces of South Africa.
“We are introducing these vehicles, to reach out to our rural and urban communities that find it difficult to access our Employment and Labour Centres,” Nxesi said.
“One vehicle is not sufficient at all in each of these provinces. We definitely need more of them to reach out to our young people.”
South Africa’s unemployment rate remains the highest in the world at 32.9% of the working age population, with at least 4.9 million young people aged 15-34 years remaining jobless.
A number of experts have pointed to South Africa’s poor education system as a result of these growing numbers of young people who are unemployable.
Regent Business School enrolment manager Brandon Govender said the transition from education to employment presents both unique challenges and exciting opportunities in South Africa.
Govender said a new set of skills – often referred to as ‘21st century skills’ or ‘future fit skills’ encompassing critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, digital literacy, and emotional intelligence – was needed for graduates in South Africa.
He said these skills were not merely a pathway to employment but a gateway to a resilient and prosperous future, and must be at the forefront of educational reforms and policy discussions.
“Integrating 21st century skills into entrepreneurship education is a crucial step. This integration not only fosters entrepreneurial mindsets among students but also cultivates essential skills such as social relationships, leadership, creativity, and critical thinking,” he said.
One of the sectors where decreases in employment have been recorded this year is manufacturing.
Metropolitan GetUp Insights and Innovation lead Tasnim Alli yesterday said South Africa’s manufacturing sector could present an exciting opportunity to address youth unemployment.
Alli said the manufacturing sector offers the opportunity to boost South Africa’s flailing economy, offering exciting opportunities for young people while redressing the unemployment issue.
She said there should be an emphasis on technological innovation and education to develop the skills and technological know-how for the kind of manufacturing that takes issues such as climate change into account.
“A thriving manufacturing sector will play a massive role in the growth of the economy. According to the same Revitalizing SA report, a 10% increase in manufacturing investment is projected to produce a medium-term GDP contribution of 13%,” Alli said.
“And it is not only manufacturing that will reap the benefits but the entire ecosystem, positively impacting unskilled jobs while creating new jobs across different skill levels.”