Entrepreneurship has long been considered part of the solution to high youth unemployment. However, the predicament of South Africa’s unemployed youth is a very precise one. They are hungry for help to learn to start and grow small businesses, but they have difficulty accessing funding and placements at institutions of higher learning.

Increased collaboration between the private and public sectors as well as educational institutions is needed to extend opportunities to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to learn and need experience.

So says Duncan Raftesath at WITS Enterprise, where the plight of unemployed youths – and their appetite for learning – which was evident at the registration for a short course designed and intended specifically for unemployed South African youths earlier in the year. Hundreds of candidates visited WITS Enterprise the day before orientation, and on the day of registration, some 3 000 young people showed up in the hopes of being accommodated on the course.

“It took the whole day to speak to the candidates, gather their contact details and clear out our administration offices. The overwhelming interest in the course and the enthusiasm of the candidates that came to our offices that day demonstrated the dire need for more learning opportunities to be made available to the youth.

“People who are educated and have basic business skills have more potential to start small businesses and growth them enough to create employment and generate wealth for their communities. The dilemma is extending access to educational opportunities to youths with limited resources.

Seeking partnerships for skills transfer

“WITS Commercial Enterprise is keen to partner with companies in the private and public sector to being skills development and entrepreneurial training programmes within the reach of unemployed youths. As the education partner, we will develop the material and course content, as well as secure the necessary accreditation. However, we do need funding support to make it happen,” says Duncan.

“We would love to make more courses happen so that these unemployed youths can achieve their dreams to study further. We appeal to potential stakeholders that might be interested in partnering with us to get in touch so that we can help these desperate young people,” says Duncan, adding that programmes that allow for skills transfer and on-the-job preparation is needed for students who might have skills but are unemployed because they do not have work experience.

WITS Enterprise’s Short Courses unit is the benchmark in the delivery of relevant short courses and learning experiences for people that want to enhance their skills to go further, as well as companies that want to give their employees the edge.

A trusted provider of the best short courses in Gauteng, WITS Commercial Enterprise’s Short Courses also provides turnkey training solutions and customised learning experiences that are tailored to specific needs. These learning solutions are multidisciplinary, drawn from the length and breadth of the University’s faculties.

Organisations that would like to partner with WITS Enterprise can contact Sibongile Horo, Sibongile.horo@wits.ac.za 011 717 3930.

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