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The Power of Education: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

South Africa has the second-largest economy in Africa yet the divide between its richest and poorest citizens is huge. For the past nine years, South Africa’s unemployment rate has been rising steadily which is bad news for its citizens as well as its economy.


Out of every 20 unemployed people in South Africa, seven are below the age of 35. But the cause of this grim reality is not only a lack of jobs. An inadequately educated workforce has continued to stunt the pace of transformation for the country. This is largely due to a lack of infrastructure to facilitate comprehensive learning and development across the country. As a result, many young South Africans underskilled. In addition, today’s employers are extremely cautious about the candidates they choose to absorb into their organisations which makes entering the working world even more challenging for job seekers, particularly those without skills and experience.


Much like in other African countries, South Africa is trying to find a way to turn its fast-growing population of youngsters into a dividend. For this to happen, amping up on education and training is critical. For example, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs study highlights the importance of aligning education with skills needed in the labour force.


Candidates who possess complex problem-solving skills, critical thinking, good judgement and strong decision making abilities will be more likely to secure sustainable employment than their lesser skilled peers. Grooming the right talent for South Africa’s jobs of today and the future is therefore necessary in order to narrow the skills gaps that exist in many local sectors and lower the rates of unemployed youths in the country.


Upskilling is recognised as one of the key components of South Africa’s transformation and economic growth strategies which is why the new Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) codes focus strongly on skills development. In light of this, an increasing number of corporate companies are approaching Training Force to fully qualify their staff and to handle skills development.


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