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education not enough for employment, students seek internships and relevant work experience

“Every year, South Africa’s higher education and training sector produces 3 000 graduates that cannot find jobs, a third of who are trained in the engineering and science fields, a skills expert revealed recently. South Africa’s National Skills Development Handbook editor Mike Stuart said that this was mainly owing to a gap between the supply of skills and the demand of the occupational dispensation in the country. ‘Graduates in the fields of engineering and science, mainly from South Africa’s Further Education and Training colleges, are given the knowledge and some practical training by institutions, but then left without any work experience and, ultimately, unemployed.’ Stuart noted that the government had been working hard to bridge this gap over the past 11 years and while the State had almost come full circle, it had new perspectives and a better understanding of how to link education and training to the world of business. ‘... South Africa must get it right, not just for the country’s own economy, but to also provide solutions for the rest of the African continent,’ said Stuart.”

Implications from Institute for the Future:

Education is no longer enough, internships and relevant work experience is essential for creating a thriving and employed population. From a recent youth scenarios workshop in Western Kenya facilitated by Kenya’s Institute for Economic Affairs, and funded by Rockefeller Foundation, a similar story came out. The Kenyan government is currently designing internship programs in school, a first.

Our story of education for development is changing as we see country after country increase education but not employment, and eventually erupt in chaos.

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