Skills Development For Youth

The Importance of Skills Development for Youth

Imagine a world where the youth of South Africa were skilled and employed. Imagine there were enough Skills Development opportunities available for school leavers so that they could find gainful employment and start to build a future that they could call their own.

Youth unemployment is at an all-time high in South Africa and the unfortunate thing is that the economy desperately needs skilled labour. Clearly the development of skills in youth is lacking and the current system is failing the country as well as its young people.

One would expect that a young man or woman would have acquired the skills to find  fruitful employment and be well-equipped to start a career by the time he/she leaves school. All too often, this is not the case.

School leaving youth have very little chance of finding employment. They may not know how to apply for tertiary study, or even what is required in order to start studying towards the career of their dreams. The society in which they find themselves, especially in very poor and disadvantaged communities, does not have the sufficient resources and advice from role models in the community to help and advise young adults. They need help and they need it now.

The Emdeni Skills Development Centre on the far Western border of Soweto, is one facility where such help is available. The centre is operated by Abraham Kriel Bambanani. The organisation’s focus is on the care and development of children and youth up to the age of eighteen.

However, they found that too many of the youngsters that came through their care were not adequately prepared to find employment or  gain access to tertiary study. These youngsters  as well as their peers in the surrounding community were in desperate need of intervention.  As a result, the Emdeni Skills Development Centre was born.

At the Skills Centre, school leavers who find themselves at a loss and unable to progress further are able to find both bridging courses and an environment that is focused on developing skills that can be used in the labour market. There they will also find opportunities and the facilities to make their way to a tertiary education, a job or even an own micro-enterprise.

Here, people will help a youngster to compile a CV, search for job opportunities or for further study that will lead to a productive future.

At the Skills Development Centre, youth that are uncertain of where to start or where they want to go, can do short courses in End-user computers, Basic Computer coding, Cooking & Catering, Painting & Tiling or vegetable cultivation. The courses last between three and six months and in that time the students will also be exposed to basic business skills and life skills. It is a place where finding employment, further training or starting one’s own business are the topics of everyday conversations.

This centre is just one such example of what is absolutely essential right now for youth to develop the skills required to start building a future. It is not the complete answer, but more of this will lead to subsequent young adults finding their way in the world. They may be the generation to break the cycle of abject poverty passing from one generation to the next.