Now that the summer holiday is over and the hype of the matric results is dominating the news, it is time to reflect on what 2014 may hold.
News bulletins and talk radio content are full of scary stories about the youth not having a future. Questionable education quality, the bad economy, unemployment, poverty, the inflexible labour policies of Government, donation fatigue and many other factors are quoted as factors that make the plight of the youth unbearable. In addition, each year we hear about universities being flooded with angry mobs who demand acceptance in an academic program. Our minds roll back to that day when a mother was trampled to death at the University of Johannesburg and we wag angry fingers are a system that seems to have more failure than success.
As we are writing this blog, a radio station bleats in the background about youth entrepreneurship and the fact that the National Credit Act is failing youth who want to start a business because they cannot get a business start-up loan.
In the same breath, the radio station bleats that more of the youth should become artisans. Moreover, many re-bleat to say that the quality of artisan training leaves much to be desired. They also bleat that there is a stigma regarding artisan training. In fact, some voices that we encounter in our practice insist that artisan training and possible apprenticeships harks back to the old Apartheid years.
Perhaps it is time to reconsider the situation.
Instead of demanding interventions from a Government that is stressed beyond breakdown, it may be time to ask what else the country could do to rectify the situation. It is true that some matriculants have low marks that do not allow them access to traditional tertiary education streams. It is also true that many cannot afford tertiary education even though they have very good marks. These arguments serve as a handy excuse to avoid the real issues of getting people into the job market.
Once again, our practice often hears employers speaking about “growing our own wood”. Our question to those employers who bandy around that noise byte is simply:
“What does it mean to grow your own wood?”
The standard answer is that company wants to develop their employees and to promote employees into jobs instead of appointing someone from the outside into a job. For us, another question emerges:
“What do employees do with the saplings around them?”
In other words, what do employers do to provide the children of employees to get access to good education and to become part of the future workforce of that employer?
Perhaps it is time for the employers in this country to study the life and work of Milton Hershey and to transform this country into a modern day Hersheyville.
Companies are quick to brag about Corporate Social Investment programs that make them look good or feel good. The question, however, is how sustainable or fashionable such programs are and whether such programs really make a difference in growing the many saplings of today into the mighty forests of tomorrow.
It is time for employers to unlock the potential of these young saplings.
That is one of the main reasons why Skopus Business Consultants joined forces with Workplace Integrated Training Solutions to form the Growth Institute. Growth will focus specifically on working with clients to unlock the potential that surrounds them and to ensure that Workforce 2026 is not a nightmare.