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These are 16 key job skills needed in SA

Higher education minister Blade Nzimande says skills development programmes and workplace-based learning opportunities are being accelerated to address youth unemployment. File photo.
Higher education minister Blade Nzimande says skills development programmes and workplace-based learning opportunities are being accelerated to address youth unemployment. File photo.
Image: GCIS

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Higher education minister Blade Nzimande says SA is facing a skills development challenge with many jobs needed to help the country’s ailing economy and government’s recovery plan.

Nzimande was addressing the ministerial community education and training summit on Tuesday. 

He said the country was facing a skills development challenge due to the ever-increasing number of people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET).

“The upsurge in the NEET number suggests the need to expand access to post-school education and training opportunities in the system beyond current provisioning,” he said. 

Nzimande said key skills which are sought-after include:

  • digital economy
  • energy
  • infrastructure development
  • manufacturing
  • tourism and agriculture
  • data scientists
  • web developer
  • computer network 
  • technician
  • electrical engineer
  • concentrated solar power process controller
  • mechatronic technician
  • toolmaker
  • gaming worker
  • crop produce analyst 
  • agricultural scientist.

Nzimande said expanding access to post-school education and training opportunities requires institutions to offer a diversity of programmes not only to take account of the needs of the youth who have completed schooling, but also for those who have not completed their schooling in an integrated and articulated manner. 

“It should remain a concern for all of us that more than 3.4-million young South Africans, aged 15 to 24 are disengaged from education and work. The youth unemployment rate, measuring jobseekers between 15 and 24 years old, hit a new record high of 66.5%.

“Two-million of them have not finished grade 12, while some are working in the extensive informal economy,” said Nzimande. 

SA’s unemployment rate rose to 34.9% in the third quarter of 2021, from 34.4% in the previous period on the back of the July unrest and Covid-19 lockdowns.  

It was the highest jobless rate since comparable data began in 2008.

Nzimande said because of high unemployment,government plans to reposition the community education and training sector to provide the skills required for economic development and to take people out of poverty and indignity.

“Government is seized with using its own resources and internal capabilities to deal with the school-to-work transition by investing a significant portion of its budget to support our youth with learnerships and internships and other government-funded programmes that help to create mass employment.

“We all know our failure to integrate many people into the labour market threatens social cohesion, and in the SA context, this remains of particular concern because of the over-representation of black South Africans in the NEET population,” he said. 


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