Unemployment in the country is at its highest level in almost 15 years, with nearly a half a million people added to the job-seekers list, offsetting the nearly 150 000 jobs added to the economy. The unemployment rate of 27.7 percent in the first quarter was up 1.2 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2016. In responding to these challenges, the Free State provincial government has embarked on a fierce drive to instil a sense of skills development in young pupils in high school.
According to the outgoing premier, Dr Ace Magashule, the initiative seeks to conscientise young people to make them aware that in the next coming years, artisans will become key cornerstones to alleviate joblessness and poverty. He was speaking on the sidelines of the state of the province address held in Parys on Tuesday where a group of pupils from various schools around the province were exposed to artisan skills. “Job creation begins with a skilled workforce. We therefore need to look at alternative career options for our young people.
The government continues to encourage more young learners to train to become artisans,” said Magashule. He said statistics show that South Africa has a shortfall of about 40 000 qualified artisans. This is measured against the annual production rate of 13 000 qualified artisans. He said part of this initiative will see government taking local black panel beaters identified in townships to China and Brazil to equip them with more knowledge that speaks to current technological environment and that upon their return, they will be assisted with securing accreditation so that they could start giving services to government departments and municipalities.