Every week in our local newspapers, there is an article about youth and unemployment. There was one heading that particularly drove this point home a few weeks ago, claiming that youth unemployment is set to hit 50%. That is just an unbelievable stat.
I have noticed that one of the reasons unemployment is so high amongst the youth is because there are simply no jobs for them. A lot of graduates are sitting at home with diplomas and degrees, but no posts for them. When an opening does come along, it usually asks for years of experience.
That cuts out a large amount of educated and qualified youths for that opening. Older members of society bounce around jobs with the same qualifications and a whole lot more wealth of experience. The playing field is not equal, especially in the banking industry.
The industries are saturated with qualified candidates. For the past 10 years or more, institutions have been teaching from the same textbooks. There is very little diversification among the knowledge being taught.
The youth are trapped because they can’t think out of the box since they are programmed and trapped in textbooks. We preach education is the key, only to get it and find out the locks have been changed or upgraded.
A few weeks ago unemployed graduates were on a strike.
I sympathise with them. It is the secondary effects of the strike that really got to me. When something like that happens in our young country, it is usually the innocent youths watching from the outside that really feel the heat.
As a student, it’s scary and disheartening to watch someone who studied exactly what you are currently studying go through such an ordeal. It kills the hopes of a better future and makes a person question the labour they put into their studies.
The youth deserve more than empty promises when it comes to job creation. Every new project that is announced always seems to bring with it many employment opportunities, but the unemployment rate just seems to get higher with each passing year; something is not adding up.
Soon the excuse of ‘doing this for the youth’ will become worn out.
The youth are the driving force of an economy and it would make maximum sense if they were actively involved and reaping the benefits of their labour. The onus lies with our leaders to integrate the youth into the economy and make jobs available for our newly grads!
- Olavi Popyeinawa