It is the sensitive topic of unemployment, especially on the Cape Flats. I am always alarmed by the sheer numbers of young people who hang around in backyards and loitering on street corners when I drive around during the daytime.
It has been this way for as long as I can remember. Men and women in their prime, sitting around at home with idle hands.
Every now and again they have an odd job, but mostly they just hang around with other jobless young people day after day. Most people say that’s because there aren’t any jobs.
But when I read the newspaper, every single day without fail, I see hundreds of jobs being advertised.
Newspapers have been advertising jobs for almost as long as people have been unemployed.
So I don’t understand how there can be so many jobs being advertised, and yet so many people say they can’t find one. It doesn’t make any sense.
There must be a way to connect those young men on the street corners with those companies desperately looking for employees every day. But I also understand that this is not something that can be solved overnight.
Since it is an age-old problem, I suppose it takes ages to solve, but at least we can try to stop it from continuing.
Which brings me to the latest government list of occupations that are in demand.
This list from the Department of Higher Education and Training is released every two years to give us an idea of where the demand is for certain skills, making it a practical tool for us to stop the cycle from continuing beyond the next generation.
It means we can start guiding our kids in directions that we know will provide them with excellent jobs one day.
Plumber, senior government official, carpenter, small business manager, tool maker, faculty head, fitter and turner, industrial pharmacist and diesel mechanic. These are some of the fields where there are skills shortages, and will probably continue to be over the next five years.
In addition to this, if you truly want your kids to be employable, make sure you guide them in the direction of renewable energy, business management, anything related to technology or computer programme engineering, which means they could work in just about any field in future.
Plus it’s never too late to learn a new skill, even if it seems crazy. I know of an old friend of mine who has just started studying software developing and coding at the age of 50.
She understands how many doors this is going to open for her in a year’s time, giving her job satisfaction and allowing her to earn large sums of money quickly. And even work from home.
It’s a brave new world and anyone can be anything and make a great success of themselves, at any age.
I’m meeting CEOs of their own companies and they’re not even 25 years old yet.
Teenagers are writing computer programmes that companies are buying from them for millions of dollars. Teenagers!
That means some people have been standing on street corners waiting for someone to offer them a job for longer than some of these kids have been alive.
All we need is a bit of courage and belief that we can also be as wildly successful as these people we read about. And of course have the ability to work hard without any reward for a long period of time. But with this list, at least now we know what we are working towards.