Combatting Unemployment one Learnership at a Time
by Tarryn Mason

It is extremely unsettling to know that 50.9% of South Africa’s youth are unemployed.

It is therefore evident that more focus needs to be placed on how we can assist the youth in entering the job market without a formal tertiary qualification in order to contribute positively to the country's economy.

The job market is a competitive one, with the requirements  for gaining first time employment becoming more out of reach for many young South Africans, especially for people with disabilities (PWD). A tertiary qualification and experience seem to be essential and appear on many employers’ list of requirements.

Many dream of one day attaining a tertiary qualification however for most of South Africa’s youth, it remains just that - a dream. Due to the lack of funds, amongst other reasons, for many young South Africans a secondary, or even a primary education, is unobtainable, never mind a tertiary qualification. According to Progression’s database of candidates, only 5% of PWD have a matric.  

This is where the importance and value of learnerships become evident. Although legislative requirements such as the Skills Development Act and the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice drive most companies to invest in learnerships, there are other, more important reasons and benefits to implementing a learnership.

A learnership, obtained through an accredited provider, could be the answer to addressing the critical skills gap that exists in various industries and helping to combat unemployment. Many employers are unaware of the fact that completing a NQF level 4 learnership is the equivalent of obtaining a matric. This, along with the practical experience gained while on a learnership, exponentially increases an individual’s chances of finding employment.

A learnership is an accredited training programme that runs for a minimum of 12 months and results in the learner achieving a qualification upon completion. A learnership is most effective when the learner's training and/or qualification stream is directly related to the requirements of their job. This allows the learner to develop the vital skills needed in their specific industry and also contributes to addressing the skills shortage in South Africa.

Benefits to the learner:

• Increases employment opportunities


• Provides easy access to formal learning


• Assists in career-pathing and self-development

• Offers a way to earn a salary while studying

• Provides valuable workplace experience

Benefits to the employer:

  • It provides the organisation with the opportunity to grow and develop their own talent. Not only is this much cheaper, but it also produces a better caliber of people that meet the unique needs of the organisation.
  • Learnerships assist in reaching an organisation’s Employment Equity targets, as it provides previously disadvantaged people and PWDs with the opportunity to improve their work-related competence and obtain qualifications.
  • Improves an organisation’s competitiveness by gaining valuable B-BBEE points.
  • As previously stated, learnerships consist of both theoretical and practical components and thus, provide a truly meaningful way of learning.
  • Capitalises on the available learnership tax break and Employment Tax Incentive.
  • The value added to the life of the learner is priceless.

Progression places around 400 learners on learnerships each year. We strive to increase this number every year and seek the help of corporates to do so. Learnerships are key to reducing South Africa’s distressing unemployment rate and providing hope and opportunities to the many jobless youths yearning for a brighter future.

For more information on what learnerships Progression can provide, click here.

 

 

 

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