Despite a slight improvement in the matric pass rate and the government’s promise of free tertiary education for thousands of young South Africans in 2018, the big, wide world is a daunting place for young adults. It is also a place of excitement and opportunity.
Although accurate statistics are sometimes lacking, let’s take a look at the reality we already know.
· Roughly half of children enrolled for Grade 1 will complete Grade 12.
· Of that 50%, only 75% of pupils will obtain their matric certificate, and roughly 38% will have the marks to study further at a tertiary institution.
· This means that from a starting number of 1,15 million children a year, approximately 75% will be left to seek employment, often without the preparation or relevant skills needed to enter the job market.
· Add to this number the thousands of tertiary graduates who will flood the specialised jobs market yearly, only to find the demand in their field is greatly diminished.
· According to Africa Check, the June 2014 labour force survey showed that 36.1% of young people between the ages of 15 and 35 were unemployed.
A rather gloomy picture, you might say? Fortunately, it does not have to remain that way.
Having a Grade 12 or even a university degree behind your name does not guarantee you a job, let alone a high-paying one. This is not because young people are lazy or do not want to find work, it is because there just are not enough jobs on offer. It is a dilemma faced by people of all races and cultures.
But here is the good news. There is #hopeforafuture; a way to address inequality, unemployment and poverty in South African society, and every citizen can be part of the solution.
It all starts with a change of mindset.
The expectation that government must create jobs is based on unrealistic and impossible promises made by politicians.
· It is not government’s job to create jobs, but to create an environment in which it is attractive to start businesses, especially small businesses.
· It is government’s job to create an environment where big corporate companies and overseas investors see reason to invest in these small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs).
· It is also government’s job to encourage the development of young people through a schooling system that places importance on creativity, ingenuity and taking entrepreneurial initiative.
It is well-known that the biggest job creators in a developing economy are SMMEs, and the entrepreneurs who run them.
The Springboard Academy will be presenting a course on Becoming an Entrepreneur starting in March 2018.
**Keep an eye out next week for The Springboard Academy’s post on Entrepreneurship: Becoming Part of the Solution, where we look at how, through entrepreneurship, you can start to create your own future.