Union: 'Matric is simply not enough'

Matrics will need to obtain further skills in order to find viable employment, trade union UASA said on Sunday.

“The message is clear. Employers are looking for skilled people,” said United Association of South Africa spokesperson Andre Venter in a statement.

“A straight matric qualification provides school leavers with limited skills, if any. Matric is simply not enough.”

Venter said matriculants were usually considered as semi-skilled in the job market.

He said their schooling left them mainly with a theoretical background which was not always useful for the kinds of specific tasks needed in the job market.

“A person who left school with a grade 10 qualification and for instance added three years of practical training as a plumber, a mechanic or a hairdresser seems to have a far better chance of
finding a job today.”

Venter said an employment report compiled by the union this year showed that about half of South Africans under the age of 25 are unemployed and about a quarter of matrics did not have jobs.

“In contrast, less than 5% of people who have an
honours degree are jobless,” says Venter.

Economist Mike Schüssler, who compiled the employment report for the union, said that in his two decades as an economist he had never seen such high level of unemployment.

‘For matrics who can afford it, there is only one solution: further your studies.”

Schüssler said even young people who did not finish matric should go and find out where skills shortages were and then try get involved in a Seta programme or ask for job training.

“Think practical.
Even if you have to work for a pittance and live with your parents, get that initial work experience.

“It will open doors for you. Fact is that the world owes you nothing, but you owe yourself everything,” he added. - Sapa