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Retrenchment has become a reality for many young South Africans. Major industries such as construction, mining and banking have had to cut huge numbers of jobs, leaving many out of work. 

In tough economic times, the youth have the benefit of being tech smart and hungry to learn. The main challenge they face, is figuring out how to turn adversity into opportunity.

“Young people with access to a computer and the internet can market their experience, learn new skills and even create jobs for themselves. 

Getting a job is no longer a case of knocking on doors, trawling through newspapers and waiting for replies, it’s about standing out from the crowd. Demonstrating tech savviness and initiative, will get you a foot in the door,” says internet entrepreneur and head of local hosting company1-grid, Thomas Vollrath.

Employability is about honing your core skills, increasing your ability base and marketing these self-improvements in an effective way, to the right audience. Vollrath offers the following advice to young people struggling to find permanent employment:

Complete an online course – there are a variety of courses available online to help broaden your skillset. Google offers a selection of free courses that will spruce up your CV, showing employers your willingness to learn and adapt according to the latest digital trends.

Create an online presence – creating an online portfolio that showcases your talents has never been easier. Take advantage of website builder tools to ensure that future employers can see you know your way around the web.

Offer a unique service – profit off your existing skills by offering a unique service. This can be anything from dog walking to online tutoring. Manage and book appointments for your business online, advertise on social media and quickly create a loyal client base. Not only will you learn practical business skills, but you’ll have an impressive addition to your CV when you apply for jobs.

Open a virtual store – with a simple website, you can set up an online store selling anything from custom made jewelry to refurbished electronics. Two examples of student run businesses are BYO Skin Co, a build-your-own skincare brand, and Trove Clothing, a platform that allows you to buy and sell pre-loved clothing. Both of these were set up using 1-grid’s web builder tool.

Find your passion and write about it – it is possible to create a blog and make money from it. Setting up a well-designed blog that’s able to host revenue-generating adverts is both cost effective and easy to manage.

“The internet is a place of endless opportunities, if you know how to create them,” says Vollrath. “With the variety of online tools available, it’s easy for aspiring entrepreneurs, business owners and job seekers to establish an online presence and create opportunities for themselves.”

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