This week on Khetha #22

Radio Stations: SABC Radio Stations
Unemployed graduates
Script Written by:
 Dineo Kgabale
Edited by: Celimpilo Khumalo

Programme Date: 3- 6 June 2019
Target Audience: 
Job seekers and graduates

Script Notes:

  • The programme is entitled: The World of Work: Support Services
  • This script will be translated to other official languages and broadcast on 12 Broadcasting Services (PBS) radio stations.
  • The programme is characterised by the radio presenter and a guest from the Department of Higher Education and Training.
  • The radio presenter is the main anchor of the programme and he/she will control the activities on the programme.

The objectives of this programme are to:

  • Dispel the myth that people with qualifications struggle to find employment just as much as those without qualifications;
  • Communicate the importance of using the learning and training opportunities at PSET institutions to develop skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary for success in the workplace;
  • Discuss various resources to use when searching for opportunities.
  • Encourage people to use the Career Development Services and order organisations services. .

The entire programme runs for 30 minutes; which includes Public Services announcements (PSAs).

Opening Billboard: ‘This programme is brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training in partnership with SABC Education.’

Programme Introduction

Presenter: Good day and a warm welcome to all our listeners. It is time for another exciting episode of Khetha, brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training. Today we are talking about graduate unemployment. Reality is that there is a high unemployment rate in South Africa and this affects each and every one of us. We have graduates who are struggling to find employment as well as people who are caught in this web of unemployment.

We are joined in the studio by our guest speaker from the Department, ******** who will give graduates information and advice on how to better their chances of getting jobs and securing their livelihood. It’s good to have you on the show

Presenter: This is a very critical topic. There is a misconception with regards to who is, or not a graduate. Please clarify to our listeners, what a graduate is?

Guest: A graduate is not limited to people who have completed their degrees only. Anyone who has completed a post-school qualification - whether a degree, a diploma or a certificate are referred to as graduates.

Presenter: Thanks for clarifying that. There is widespread belief that having a degree, or a post-school qualification, does not make any difference to one’s chances of getting a job. In fact, I have often heard both young and old people saying, it does not help to have a tertiary qualification these days because you will not get a job. Is this true?

Guest: Thank you for this very important question! Let me start by saying that it is NOT true at all.

According to the 2013 Statistics SA report, the rate of unemployment among those with degrees is a mere 5%. Among those with other tertiary qualifications such as diplomas or certificates, it is significantly higher at 12%. Remarkably, among those without matric the unemployment jumps to around 30%. (I checked to see if there was new information regarding statistics on graduate unemployment. The information is still the same.)

It is clear from this report that if you have a degree you have a much better chance of obtaining a job than someone who does not have matric at all. Listeners must note that we are talking in comparative terms. We are not down-playing graduate unemployment nor are we saying that it does not exist. The existence of graduate unemployment while low; is often exaggerated.

Today we will be highlighting the most important factors that one needs to know in order to be employable and sustain employability.

Presenter: Very interesting. Let’s talk about the issue of looking for a job. When does one start? Is it upon graduation or does it start earlier?

Guest: You should know, or perhaps have an idea, at school level already, what occupation and learning pathway you want to pursue. You don’t just wake up one day and decide to become a plumber for example. You have to research opportunities and options and then decide on what to study. Then when you enter the Post-School Education and Training (PSET) system, you have to prepare yourself for the job market.

Preparation for the workplace starts long before graduation. We encourage students who are still studying, to see the time they spend at University or College as critical to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes that they will utilise when they compete for employment later. This means that a student must see that every activity they are engaged in during their studies is in preparation for the workplace and not as some meaningless activity that will not add value to their lives.

It is very important that you develop the discipline to engage in meaningful activities and to perform to the best of your ability during your studies. Discipline is one of the most important competences that everyone must master.

Far too many of our students don’t use their time at post-school institutions well enough and miss many opportunities to learn a variety of competences and skills. This is so important when you start looking for work because part of the requirements from the job advertisement work experience is needed.

We want to advice our listeners that studying is more about learning and development than just obtaining a certificate, diploma or degree. Visit the workplace during your vacations and try to find a mentor in your field to guide you. You can even consider doing job-shadowing or getting a part-time job during the holidays. This will definitely make you more employable. Offer your services, even if only as a volunteer– you will gain a lot of experience and when you apply, employers will notice that you are serious about progressing in life.

Presenter: You mentioned important aspects with regards to gaining experience. A lot of students wait for internship or apprenticeship programmes and sometimes those opportunities do not come. Some students complain that employers need work experience, meanwhile most people do not have experience, especially if they have just graduated. Is it fair for employers to ask for work experience, especially from young people?

Guest: That is a very important question; I’m so glad that you asked! Employers need someone that has work experience because they require you to do the job. Employers do not have the time to teach you the work because when they advertise the post, they have identified the gab that needs to be filled in order for the work to keep going.

So it is important for our listeners to change their mind set and start looking at different ways that will assist them to gain work experience. Volunteering is one of the most important aspects of gaining work experience and acquiring soft and hard skills needed in the world of work. A lot of people see volunteering as insignificant; they feel as though they are being used because they do not get paid for volunteerism.

Volunteering helps develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge. You become exposed to the world of work. You get to experience how work is done on a daily basis and what is required to be a professional in that particular job. When you volunteer, you also meet new people and these people may offer you a job seeing that you are dedicated in what you do. It is important that graduates or entry-level workers with minimal or no work experience, emphasize their volunteer work -- even make volunteerism a central part of their Curriculum Vitae.

Presenter: What advice do you have for those graduates who are currently unemployed and wondering what more they can do to enhance their chances of securing a job?

Guest: It is important to make yourself employable. Find a way to stand out in a group of job applicants. There are definitely a few things that unemployed graduates can do to enhance their chances of finding employment.

Consider the following:

  • Get your driver’s licence. It is so important to have a driver’s licence when applying for a job. Make it one of your first priorities.
  • Attend life or soft skills training programmes. These are sessions where you are trained on areas such as, communication skills, time management and so forth. These are normally provided by NGOs or government departments/agencies such as the Department of Labour and the National Youth Development Agency. Check with a librarian or a teacher in your community if such training opportunities are available near you. This type of training is taken seriously and can be very helpful for a graduate.
  • Update and fine tune your CV and cover letter: These represent your first encounter with potential employers. Make sure that these documents represent you well. Your CV must be clear and easy to read.
  • Use WiFi hotspots and Social Networks effectively – Create your profile to resemble a Resume. Ask for endorsements.
  • Participate in community development projects. These projects often include training in one form or another and they will provide you with exposure to the working environment.
  • Attend career fairs/career expos and company presentations/employer presentations on campus. You will get to meet and network with employers and even hear about employment opportunities.
  • Initiate your own initiatives. We come across many young graduates who initiate projects in their own communities and develop writing skills and presentation skills through them. These initiatives can be in the graduate’s area of qualification or beyond. Examples include, helping the local NGO to manage its finances, starting an NGO, starting your own business and so forth.
  • Create a LinkedIn account to expand your professional network and as a tool for career and job information.
  • Tell relevant people that you are looking for a job and what kind of a job you are willing to accept.
  • Gain work experience. Visit the workplace, see if you can find a mentor in your field to guide you. Volunteer yourself to do some work for them, do job-shadowing or even get a part-time job.

Identify the skills that you have and look at areas you can bridge the gap in, in the labor market. If you cannot find a job, look at places where you can market your services, for example if you have a Graphic Design or Information Technology qualification, you can approach different churches and ask if you can develop websites for them or improve their websites. By doing so you can find yourself with 3 jobs in a week and soon you can be doing work for five churches and you can have a week’s or a month’s salary.

Presenter: We hear a lot about government’s role in combatting unemployment. Are government departments and agencies offering opportunities for graduates? How can graduates take advantage of and access these opportunities?

Guest: Various government departments and agencies offer opportunities to graduates. A few examples are:

  • Internships: These are opportunities are offered to graduates or students for them to work at a company for a fixed and limited period of time. The purpose of the internship programme is for a graduate to gain workplace experience in the field that the individual has graduated in.
  • There are also learnerships, which are work-based learning programmes that lead to a qualification. Learnerships combine theory, practice and workplace experience so that one can gain the necessary skills that will further enhance one’s employment or self-employment opportunities.

Unemployed graduates can access these and many other opportunities through online databases. The Employment System South Africa (ESSA), for instance, is for every South African job seeker and people are encouraged to visit their nearest Department of Labour Centre to register on the system or visit the Department of Labour’s website to register:

Students who are pursuing or have completed trade related qualifications may register with the National Artisan Development Support Centre (NADSC). NADSC matches students to companies for apprenticeships or work based exposure. To register visit their website

The iWIL service is also available if you have completed your studies or are currently studying and require workplace based learning or any type of work experience in order to get your career moving. To register visit the Department of Higher Education’s website

Some of the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) run programmes that focus on the selection, training, placement and monitoring work of matriculants, graduates and under-graduates and placement into the workplace. There is, for example, the Guarantee Trust’s programme which works in conjunction with the Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority (FASSET) and Banking Sector Education and Training Authority (BANKSETA)

Please do not forget that SETAs are the link between learning and the industry and can also provide you with valuable links to career opportunities.

Presenter: With all the high unemployment rate situation in our country, do you think that all graduates should be looking for jobs or can they start their own businesses and become entrepreneurs?

Guest: Before I answer your question. Let me first explain that entrepreneurship is the capacity and willingness to develop, organise and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit.

Graduates should certainly consider using their knowledge and skills to start their own businesses. These skills may or may not be linked to their qualifications. Areas to explore may be talents and abilities that have been developed over time such as fixing cars, painting, selling, cooking and so forth.

Graduates who wish to become entrepreneurs can contact the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) or Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) for more information.

Presenter: Any closing remarks from the Department of Higher Education and Training?

Guest: I want to encourage everyone who is listening to make use of our service. Not only to get information, but to assist you to develop your career plan, so that you know where to go, what to do and when to apply for post-school education and training opportunities.

Presenter: Thank you. Please provide us with the contact details that our listeners can use if they want assistance with making a career choice.

Guest: Our listeners can reach us through:

  1. Call 086 999 0123, which is a call share line, from Monday to Friday between 8:00am and 4:30pm,
  2. Visit to our offices at 123 Francis Baard, Pretoria

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