Even as South Africa slowly emerges from the suffocating economic grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, just lately released employment statistics proceed to make for grim reading, with almost eight million individuals unemployed.
South Africa actually recorded improved economic activity within the fourth quarter of 2021, together with an expansion in actual GDP of 1.2% compared to the previous quarter, but unemployment still reached document ranges.
Denice Dumisa

According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), unemployment in Q4 final year rose to 35.3% from 34.9% within the earlier quarter. This is the highest level since the begin of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey in 2008.
Even pressure gauge octa , the youth unemployment fee stood at a staggering 65.5%.
The latest employment information was released at the finish of March by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), and got here just days after South Africa managed to attract R1.2 trillion in funding in the course of the fourth South Africa Investment Conference.
Analysts have described the country’s financial system as “producing jobless growth” and consider that even with upward financial progress within the medium term, South Africa will nonetheless have an overall unemployment figure of around 30%.
Youth unemployment is a worldwide issue, even more acutely pronounced in South Africa, the place the newest figures are sounding important alarm bells.
In late 2021, Stats SA reported that two out of each three younger people under the age of 35 in South Africa are unemployed. For the age cohort underneath 25, this rises to three out of every four, or a jarring 75%.
But in and amongst the dire unemployment statistics there are rays of sunshine on the means to begin to effectively tackle this socio-economic crisis.
Education is vital

According to the QLFS report, of the 7,9 million unemployed individuals within the fourth quarter of 2021, as many as 51,6% had education levels beneath matric.
This number of unemployed drops the higher the education degree. Those with a Matric cross represent 38.6% of unemployed and this determine drops substantially for these with other tertiary qualifications (6.9%) and graduates who represent solely 2.4% of South Africa’s formal unemployed.
Astron Energy’s Organisational Capability, Learning and Development Manager Lindiwe Ncongwane mentioned: “It is an often repeated mantra that education is the key to success, however the labour drive survey certainly bears this out.
“Education allied to opportunity is the golden key to breaking this cycle of unemployment and to create a future for young individuals within the nation.”

Astron Energy, which operates South Africa’s second largest community of retail websites together with the Caltex brand, runs numerous Youth Development Programmes covering each tutorial help and office and experiential studying alternatives.
Astron Energy’s Youth Development Programmes include:




Graduate Internship Programme


According to Ncongwane, South African Corporates have a key position to play in providing opportunities for graduates and those with other qualifications to assist reduce the variety of unemployed, and in addition to help build a technology of employable younger folks.
“Investments in coaching and abilities improvement, allied to training qualifications, will help construct a workforce that’s multi-skilled and in a position to adapt to a mess of duties and industries,” she mentioned.
The 2020 Future of Work report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) found that 50% of all workers will need reskilling by 2025 as adoption of expertise increases.
The report additionally listed critical thinking and problem-solving as leading abilities employers imagine might be needed over the subsequent 5 years, while newer tendencies centre on self-management expertise corresponding to energetic learning, resilience, stress tolerance and suppleness.
According to Ncongwane, a key part of Astron Energy’s focus is to equip young people for the world of labor, not only at Astron Energy and the petrochemical trade, but the throughout a spread of disciplines to allow them to be globally aggressive.
The firm also runs a quantity of school-level initiatives in the STEM house, however consistent with the 4th Industrial Revolution’s focus on the 3Cs of Communication, Critical considering and Collaboration, has broadened this to STEAM – Science, Technology, Arts and Maths – in a bid to develop problem-solving and process-based learning.
The means forward

“As a rustic, we have to proceed investing in the education of our younger people, particularly in the important skills area, after which create alternatives for them to apply these expertise and develop in workplace environments,” Ncongwane mentioned.
“As corporates we have to design a spread of programmes and initiatives to satisfy not solely the wants of the business, but in addition the way forward for work – and critically the future employment potentialities for our younger people.
“If we do that right, we are able to start altering the outlook on the employment entrance and ensure that financial development has a tangible impression on the futures and livelihoods of the generations to return.”

In the Youth Development space, Astron Energy runs the following programmes:

8 X Learnerships in chemical operations on the Astron Energy refinery in Milnerton, Cape Town

20 X Learnerships in Sales and New Venture Creation at Johannesburg offices

The Learnerships run from 1 Oct 2021 – 30 Sep 2022


Astron Energy runs a full Bursary programme which covers each beneath graduate and post graduate studies, from 1st 12 months to Masters Level students.
The bursaries embody tuition charges, lodging, books, meals, cash allowances and trip work within the type of internship/in-service-training throughout the company’s operations.
The programme started in 2020 and to date over 440 students have been funded.
There are presently 196 student bursars and 15 employee bursars as part of this programme. A total of 26 worker kids are part of the bursary programme for 2022.
The bursary covers a spread of research fields this 12 months together with:
BSc: Chemical Engineering/ BSc: Industrial Engineering/ BSC: Property Studies/ Masters: Industrial Psychology/ Honours: Financial Accounting/ Bcom: Economics/ BSc: Electrical Engineering/ Bcom/BA: Human Resources Management/ Bcom: Information Technology/ Bcom: Internal Auditing/ Bcom: Logistics/ Occupational Health and Safety/ Bcom: Supply Chain/ BSc: Analytical Chemistry.
Astron Energy also offers profitable bursars the chance to be a part of the Astron Energy Graduate Training programme.

Astron Energy presents 24-month Apprenticeships in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and Instrumentation on the refinery in Cape Town. At present, the corporate has six apprenticeships in its manufacturing division.
Graduate Programme

The Graduate Internship Programme is run according to the varied disciplines required by the enterprise and runs for a period of between 18-24 months. The current intake of Graduate interns is set to finish on 31 December 2022.

Astron Energy currently has seventy seven participants in its Learnership, Apprenticeship and Graduate Internship programmes:
LogisticsGraduate Internship13

CFOGraduate Internship11

RetailGraduate Internship5

HRGraduate Internship3


C & IGraduate Internship2

CEOGraduate Internship2

ManufacturingGraduate Internship1

STOGraduate Internship3

Strategy Graduate Internship2

SHEQGraduate Internship1


ManufacturingChemical Operations Learnership8



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