NGO works to find unemployed youth jobs

Harambee area manager and facilitator Christoper Louw addresses participants at the youth employment workshop in Hangberg.

The City of Cape Town and NGO Harambee ran two youth employment workshops in Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu on Friday February 24.

The workshops were aimed at educating the youth about what is required for job seekers entering the market, from honing their networking skills to exploring alternative career opportunities.

Harambee works to place unemployed youth in jobs. It was established by a group of employers who were faced with the challenge of employing and retaining staff. They also aim to address the high employment levels among young South Africans.

At the Hangberg sports and recreation centre, Harambee’s area manager and facilitator Christopher Louw told more than 100 participants that they needed to understand that the job market was tough.

“If there is one position available, the first place an employer will look is in-house. They will also look at people with proof that they can do the job. After that, they will turn to agencies to assist them to find the right candidate,” he said.

“The reason that employers look at these categories first is that they don’t have to pay anything to find the right employee. You as the job-seeker do have to pay for the cost of printing out your CV, even though you are unemployed. That is the reality. Research shows that 88 percent of employment takes place in the categories where employers don’t have to pay.”

Mr Louw said it was for this reason that job-seekers had to make use of “connections”.

“Say your girlfriend’s father works at Engen. You explain to him that you are a hard worker and a go-getter, and you are good at accounting for example. If you give him your CV and there is a vacancy in the accounting department, he will then tell them that you are looking for work. The HR person will look at this connection immediately.”

He encouraged participants to sit down and look at their respective networks. “Somebody you know will always know somebody who can help you.”

He added it was important that job-seekers show their willingness to get ahead, even if it meant working for free.

“As we always say, you need to work for work. Opportunity doesn’t come dressed up the way you want it to look, so you must always be willing to try anything.

“Every day people are being employed in South Africa, so we cannot say there are not opportunities.”

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas, who helped facilitate the two workshops, said it was a pleasure working with Harambee on the programme.

“The Hangberg workshop was very well attended. Sadly the Imizamo Yethu workshop was less well attended, with about 30 or so youth. I did hear from my contacts in the community who had assisted in putting up posters about the workshop that a lot of these posters
had been removed which is unfortu-
nate.

“However, we were able to share the event on social media. I believe Harambee was happy with the turnout. The City is an opportunity city and as a ward councillor with two historically disadvantaged communities residing in the ward I felt that it would be beneficial to facilitate these workshops and give young people an opportunity to upskill themselves.”

He said these workshops would be ongoing in terms of the City’s social services portfolio.

“I am already in discussions with Harambee for a second round of workshops to be held roughly in the mid-year area. We are proactively taking action on the unemployment and despondencies a lot of our young people are feeling.

“I encourage any local businesses who have training programmes in place to contact me as the ward councillor and find out how we could engage in a more official capacity in a partnership.”