Choose wisely when deciding on careers
A CAPE Town academic has called on young people to invest in themselves by making wise career choices or opting for relevant skills in a bid to reduce the high rate of youth unemployment in the country.
Cecil Mlotsheni, a lecturer and research associate at the University of Cape Town- based southern African labour and development research unit, was speaking at a book launch at the University of Western Cape (UWC) on Tuesday night.
Mlotsheni and 14 other people - including Johan Muller, deputy dean for research and humanities at UCT and Joy Papier, director of the further education and training institute at UWC, are contributors to the book.
Shaping the Future of South Africa's Youth is about the impact of youth unemployment and provides an analysis of the national qualification system on occupational training and also gives some insights in to the post-school system.
Mlotsheni said: "Young people must think very carefully about the careers they want to follow. They must make right career choices or opt for relevant skills."
He said many youths did not get career guidance and this made them choose careers not suited to them.
Many young people wanted to further their studies, but were unable to do so due to a lack of finance.
There were also not enough jobs for people because of low economic growth.
"Some young people have stopped looking for jobs because they have lost hope.
"Another problem is that the skills people have do not match what the economy requires."
Mlotsheni called on the government to grow the economy to ensure job creation.
He believes that unemployment levels will be reduced if more people are educated.
"Education also contributes to the creation of jobs."
Mlotsheni also encouraged young people to become entrepreneurs.
He urged policy-makers to find solutions to youth unemployment because it has caused a lot of uncertainty.
Northlink College chief executive Leon Beech said they had several campuses in Cape Town and had created access to education for many students.
Beech said though the book spoke about the doom and gloom regarding youth employment, their former students have secured jobs in various industries.
"We recently hosted an awards ceremony for our students. We found that many of them have found jobs in various industries."
Beech also said their bursary fund had been a stimulus and had attracted many students to the college.
Muller called on all universities to create new knowledge and research for students and other people.
"If they don't do that, we will wonder who is going to do it," he said.
Muller also said many lecturers came from various industries and that they did not have degrees.
It was important that lecturers upgrade their skills for the benefit of their institutions and students, he added.