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Helping SA Youth Build Their Careers

By TheNigerianVoice
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When well-known radio personality Gareth Cliff started out in the media industry as a gofer and assistant producer many years ago, the job paid badly and the hours were terrible. He candidly says that he hated it and nearly gave up. Today he is where he is because he stuck at it.

'Nobody is out there rooting for you to make it in your career. The only thing that can make that happen is your own desire to do so,' he says in the foreword to the Guide.

South Africa's young people need all the help - and advice - they can get. The latest statistics paint a sombre picture - youth unemployment in the country is currently the third highest in the world. Over 70% of unemployed people are between the ages of 15 and 29 - and the majority are female.

'The high unemployment rate for South African young people is a big concern,' says Samantha Crous, Regional Director Africa and Benelux at the Top Employers Institute, publishers of the Guide and website 'Young people, whether they are university graduates or not, face huge challenges in the workplace, in trying to get jobs and establish careers.'

Unemployment has decreased marginally to 24% in 2013 but this figure is still high - try to imagine seven million people without jobs. Hardly surprisingly, unemployment has featured prominently on the agenda of most political parties taking part in the general elections in May with the DA promising six million 'real and permanent jobs' should a DA government come into power and the ANC saying it will create six million job "opportunities" primarily for young people, over the next five years.

But there is every indication that these promises are making very little impression on young people - voter apathy is extremely high among the so-called 'born-frees', the young people who were born after the country's transition to democracy in 1994.

According to the Independent Electoral Commission, less than 25% of 18-19-year-olds are registered to vote. 'Young people are signalling a lack of trust in political parties to make a real difference to their lives. But it is important to point out here that they are not alone,' says Crous.

She says that there is much that young people can do to take ownership of their own careers. The website has a lot of information available to help young people find the right company and help them launch their career. Helpful resources include online surveys about skills and personality types, to information about which top companies to work for in each industry and the kinds of jobs that are available.

'Although a big factor is the lack of available jobs, young people can still do a lot to increase their chances of success and make themselves more marketable. There is always work for someone who is eager, motivated and willing to work hard,' says Crous.

'Knowing where to find a job is one thing, but the various nuances on how to find one and how to fit into the corporate world can be overwhelming. That's where helps - we have all the job hunting tools graduates need in one place. From what an employment contract can look like, CV tips and templates, alternatives to corporate jobs and more.'

Cliff says the secret to success is doing what you are passionate about. 'Go out there and find what it is you love, and do it. If you love cooking, find a way to make it in the culinary industry - even if it means working as a bus-boy in a horrible hotel for months. The story any amazingly successful person will tell you is the same: if you do what you love, and you're good at it, you'll end up making money as a by-product of that success. Money is just a way of recognising success, it isn't success itself.'

Issued by: Rothko PR on behalf of the Top Employers Institute

Contact details: Natasha Arendorf, 021 448 9457 Rothko PR Marketing Design, 225 Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town.