The Motor Industry Staff Association (MISA) has called on employers in the retail motor industry to work together to find opportunities to employ and develop young workers in this economic sector.
“The quarterly labour force survey released by Stats SA at the beginning of June is concerning, not only because general unemployment rates – at 27.7% – are at a 13-year high, but also because of the especially high rate of unemployed young workers,” notes Martlé Keyter, MISA’s CEO for Operations.
While the rate of youth unemployment did decrease somewhat from the fourth quarter in 2016, it is still alarmingly high at 51%. “Also of concern is that more than 250 000 young workers joined the ranks of the unemployed during the first quarter of this year,” says Keyter.
Young people aged 15 to 35 represent 42 percent of the South African population, and this age group also now makes up 38,6 percent of the total number of unemployed in South Africa.
“This age group should be economically active and working towards a better future for themselves and their families, and as employers we should all be working together to create opportunities for these young workers,” says MISA Young Workers’ Forum Coordinator, Gabby van Zyl.
While Government has committed to speed up efforts and prioritise the implementation of programmes on youth development to address the longstanding challenges facing young people, particularly economic emancipation, Van Zyl believes that the private sector can do much more.
To this end, the Motor Industry Staff Association, a trade union that organises exclusively in the motor retail sector, each year runs a successful MISA Child at Work Day programme together with employers in the motor retail industry. “This is done to encourage the youth to consider the motor retail industry as a career option,” notes Anel Oosthuizen of the MISA Young Workers’ Forum.
MISA also runs various programmes aimed at offering its member base of well over 43 000 opportunities to advance their basic and tertiary education and has run a successful bursary scheme for children of members for many years.
Oosthuizen says MISA is passionate about developing young workers in the motor retail industry and facilitating the creation of employment opportunities, but that it would require a concerted effort from all employers and stakeholders. “Young workers are the future economic backbone of our country, and we all need to do everything in our power to create and sustain employment opportunities for them,” she concludes.