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Questions raised over lack of black skills development in SA

Buti Manamela says the patterns of employment, job retention and skills development in SA is worrying.

A look at South Africa’s unemployment rate from 1994 to 2014. Information courtesy of Statistics South Africa.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela says the decrease in skilled black labour and sharp increase in unskilled and semi-skilled labour is an issue which needs to be addressed.

Statistics South Africa's report on youth employment trends over the last 20 years shows that only 17,9 percent of black people are in skilled employment compared to over 61 percent of whites.

Within black African employment, the growth in skills as a proportion was much lower than other population groups.

The deputy minster said "The patterns of employment, job retention and skills development is worrying."

Within the black African 25-34 age group of skilled workers (managers, professionals, technicians), the skilled proportion of employment also decreased.

"One of the areas where focus has to be laid in order to influence future generations is at school level."

Statistics SA, together with the National Development plan, asked some pertinent questions about what could be contributing to the racial relationship between skill and labour.

According to the two organisations, the unemployment rate among black Africans who have a tertiary education has increased, which could be directly linked to the drop in black skilled labour.

It also says that the quality of education for most black children is poor, which could be a remnant of the apartheid legacy.

The NDP also pointed out the inadequacy of the post-school system which they say is not well designed to meet skill development needs.

Manamela said the report tells a disturbing story, as it suggests there is a generation of black people who have lost out on acquiring skills.

"The challenge appears to be generational and requires a long-term view in its solution, however, with immediate steps having to be taken to impact on reversing this scourge."

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