With unemployment in South Africa reaching crisis levels that further threaten an already embattled economy, a new initiative, bringing together 20 industries, aims to create at least 100 000 jobs for unemployed youth in 2018.
Launched on Monday, the multisector Jobs Summit initiative aims to kickstart 20 industry initiatives, with targeted industry task teams developing sector-specific plans to create 5 000 jobs for each of their sectors.
The Ubuntu Initiative, the brainchild of 200 companies working over the past 12 months to find solutions, will address the mismatch between available jobs and unemployed youth, said Ubuntu Initiative executive director Stefan Lauber at the launch, in Sandton.
“Even though we have millions of unemployed youth, companies struggle to find the right people,” he explained, noting that companies generally tend to poach ready-made candidates, as they do not have the time to train people.
“Giving young people their first work experience and the necessary training has been agreed to be a key priority. Several industries, therefore, agreed to set up talent incubators to prepare young people so that they are ready when there are job openings.”
He commented that now “the real work starts”, as the Jobs Summit focused on industry, leadership and organisation involvement.
Four labour-intensive industries are a particular focus, namely information and communication technology, retail, security and media.
There are seven pillars to job creation, he explained, citing the macroeconomic environment, the regulatory environment, infrastructure development, direct investment, competitiveness, skills development and small and medium-sized enterprise development.
The initiative is focusing on the latter two, obtaining CEO and ministerial buy-in and jointly agreeing on the mechanisms that will help the initiative monitor the progress of the various projects.
The CEOs of the relevant participating companies would meet quarterly, with a “CEO Council” set up to track progress.