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Tips: Covid-19, youth employment and skill development

In October 2020, President Ramaphosa announced Covid-19 mitigation plans to roll out a R100bn mass recruitment initiative expected to employ 800,000 people in the next three years in South Africa. But regardless of this much needed government intervention, learners need to prepare themselves for the workplace through dedicated skills development programs. SDC shows us how!

Despite the optimistic Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan delivered by the President during a joint sitting of Parliament late 2020, learners still need to prepare themselves through dedicated skills development programs. These are the words of Daniel Gibhard, CEO of SDC (Skills Development Corporation).

For individuals looking for an appropriate skills development placement, internship, learnership or work placement amid the current unemployment crisis, Gibhard shares the following tips:

·        Curriculum Vitae – these are important for potential employers or programme facilitators to gain insight into who the individuals are and where their strengths and weaknesses lie. This would be important from a training, placement and team or department perspective.

·        Cover Letter – too often the ease of chatbots built into company websites has incited an approach that may not necessarily be the best first impression when sending a message that simply says ‘hi’. “Make a good first impression – address your communication clearly and tell the reader why you’re getting in touch,” says Gibhard.

·        Focus on the opportunity not the paycheck – the current economic state has devastated families all over the world. Now is the time to embrace any opportunity that may present itself. “Any opportunity is an opportunity to learn,” says Daniel.

Any opportunity is an opportunity to learn” – Daniel Gibhard, CEO at SDC

·        Educate yourself – aside from the skills development companies that are offering work readiness learnerships and various other programmes, try and upskill yourself by exploring the various Microsoft, email or other specific programs that you may need to use in the environment you’re hoping to grow a career in.

·        Meeting the requirements – often when there is a job spec or skills development programme being advertised or promoted, the company will include details on the minimum admission requirements. Read these carefully and ensure you have all the paperwork and copies of the necessary documents as chances are if one company is requesting this information, others will too.

·        Dress for Success – first impressions last. Ensure that when you meet your prospective employer, internship or skills development facilitator, your clothes and hair are neat and clean. More recently, masks are also necessary so make sure they’re clean and sanitised.

·        Once online, always online – today it has become MUCH easier to do a brief background check on an applicant by simply typing their names into Google or Facebook. Make sure the content these people are presented with in the search results is in good taste and offers a brief peek into the type of person you would want them to meet.

*For heads-up on what South African corporates and the government are doing to empower local communities, make sure to regularly visit the Empower SA page!

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