Dominic Collett - The Drive For Youth
Dominic Collett - The Drive For Youth

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Dominic Collett - The Drive For Youth


Dominic Collett, the Chairman of the KwaZulu-Natal Business Chambers Council

One of the key interventions mentioned in the State of the Nation Address was the need to empower the youth and increase youth employment of South Africans under the age of 35.

This currently seems like an insurmountable task and a mountain unattainable. However, in the words of a great leader, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” So as business, labour, civil society and government, we need to press on and deal with the issues piece by piece.

Critical to making youth employment attainable is education, skills, connection to a market, selfdrive, hope and passion.

These pieces of critical intervention can be addressed by all social partners. Education, although the responsibility on the whole of government, can be influenced by the involvement of business and labour in identifying gaps in the skill set required by the job market.

Notably, this can be achieved by recommending syllabus material that the school and tertiary education institutions need that will match the market demand. Skills needed by business can easily be determined, reported on and the necessary adjustments made in the schooling curriculum.

Although a fair amount of our school infrastructure is rundown, the standard of education is directly related to the passion of the teacher and learner and not necessarily the infrastructure. I was lucky enough to be involved in a Saturday School initiative, where we gave Saturday morning lessons to matriculants at two schools that had poor classroom infrastructure.

After ten years of this initiative, we noticed an increase in matric distinctions from one to twentyfour. The high rate of distinctions has been maintained over the past five years. The learners and teachers at the two schools have blossomed and the passion for success is evident. The programme gave the learners and teachers hope, and a goal to achieve the best results they could with hard work and determination.

A person who sees their neighbour succeed that comes from the same living conditions and opportunities as themselves is filled with encouragement that they too can do the same. So, the message to business, is realise that beyond the financial CSI donations, you offer hope to the youth when you employ and empower new interns or young workers. You provide a platform for others to flourish that aren’t directly in your employment but are neighbours to your young intern.

The current youth initiative being embarked on by the KBCC in partnership with government will assist in connecting business to youth and youth to business. An innovative programme that will identify market opportunities and connect the unemployed youth to this market. We are very excited at the opportunity this will build in providing an easy platform for youth employment and market connectivity. Working together the task of youth employment is achievable.

Dominic Collett - The Drive For Youth

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