Institute tackles South Africa’s crippling youth unemployment rate head-on
Stats SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the second quarter of 2021 paints a bleak picture for jobseekers.
Not only has unemployment hit a record high of 34.4%, (7.8m) — the highest on a global list of 82 countries monitored by Bloomberg Business — but in terms of the expanded definition of unemployment which includes discouraged jobseekers, 44% of those able to work are without employment.
Covid-19, political instability and economic uncertainty have conspired to leave South Africa in a perilous state, and for future generations, the outlook is even more troubling.
According to the QLFS for Q2, nearly two-thirds (64.4%) of those aged 15 to 24 are unemployed, while 42.9% of those aged 25 to 34 are without jobs.
Jobs-for-youth programmes regularly feature in policy statements, but the latest statistics tell a very different story.
But as desperate as this situation may be, South African organisations and companies are also refusing to taking it lying down, recognising that the youth are the nation’s future.
Such organisations are investing heavily in targeted, professional programmes that will allow young people to skill themselves and drive the country’s return to prosperity.
The Maharishi Invincibility Institute, a non-profit private college and self-development organisation that funds certified training programmes for hundreds of unemployed youth, has proved a shining light in this regard.
The institute provides bursary loans and self-development programmes for bright, deserving youth to further their studies and assists them in finding employment opportunities once they graduate.
By providing financial and other access to accredited qualifications through Services SETA (Sector Education and Training Authorities), which bridges the gap between the formal education and training system and the workplace, ICT SETA, five other SETAs, as well as access to an accredited international business degree via distance learning, the Maharishi Institute is laying the platform for outstanding future professionals.
“We are acutely aware of the hardships and challenges faced by our country’s youth,” says Dr Taddy Blecher, CEO of the Maharishi Invincibility Institute.
“Particularly with the arrival of the pandemic and concerning job numbers it has become critical for young people not to be left behind.
“What we and our partners aim to achieve is to not only give youth the opportunity to access the job market, but also gain experience in a workplace environment, as it is here where learnt skills will be put to use and ultimately have an effect on the economy.”
To this end, the “Learn and Earn” programme sets the institute apart.
This programme provides real work experience for students while studying, and allows them to earn some extra money to pay for food and transport as they build their CVs.
The institute has won two global awards for its Cyber-Security Academy.
Arguably its greatest achievements, however, occurred in the learning space itself.
Covid-19 necessitated that its entire academic programme be moved online, but within weeks this daunting task had been completed.
The institute also developed and accredited five new national certificates with the relevant SETAs, while also developing all modules for the new Higher Certificate in Business Management.
In a further example of the institute’s determination to always meet challenges head-on, it went above and beyond through its CIDA-E3 initiative, in developing and launching a HealthCheck App for the national school system in August 2020.
This would later be used by all markers for the 2020 matric examinations.
The Maharishi Institute attributes much of its success to the backing of strategic partners, notably the Datatec Education and Technology Foundation, which itself carries a proud history of funding education, specifically in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in severely under-resourced communities.
Over the last two years, the Datatec foundation has contributed more than R2m to the institute, a grant that has been crucial to the implementation of programmes and projects. These include:
- The provision of certified and accredited training programmes in IT, insurance, financial markets, cybersecurity and digital marketing, work experience and a job placement service for 530 unemployed youth;
- Development of online platforms, and software integration with AI support;
- Installation of Wi-Fi across campus;
- Assistance with personal protective equipment items; and
- Developing five new courses for accreditation with SETAs, and packaging a Higher Certificate in Business Management. — DDC
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