25/05/12A different view on education and jobs
Rory Fell is currently working as an intern at Accelerate Cape Town. A recent graduate with a BA (Hons), he is experiencing the reality of the tough economic climate, and the difficulty in finding a job, at first hand. He attended the Accelerate Cape Town Member Meeting which was addressed by MEC Donald Grand and Dr Max Price, and recorded his reflections on what was said.
My name is Rory Fell and I am a 22 year old Capetonian. I studied a B.A honours degree from the University of Greenwich through their campus in Durbanville. I am currently on a six-week internship with Accelerate Cape Town. I find myself at an interesting crossroad in my life. I feel too old to start studying a second degree (without some sort of job prospects) and too young to be a full-time employed member of society. In fact, I felt disheartened that my first qualification has brought me little success. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend a meeting today which focused on education and on what the business leaders of Cape Town, together with universities, can do to curb the high unemployment rate in the Western Cape.
After listening to Dr Max Price, the Vice-Chancellor of UCT, speak on education, I feel I am left with more questions than I have answers. To give you some background on that previous sentence, Doctor Price spoke about South Africa needing more tertiary education institutions, and about the need for strengthening the South African schooling system, not only to accommodate a growing number of youth, but to have them able to attend a tertiary institution. Doctor Price went on to say that people aged between 18 and 25, in particular, are struggling to find jobs. This group, he said, has been dubbed the NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) group. After listening to his presentation, I can honestly say that I feel put in a category and tossed to the curb. I now am not just unemployed, but someone who feels let down by the lack of advice I was able to extract from this presentation.
Dr Price went on to say that the current Green Paper on Post School Education proposes that several new universities per decade need to be built, in order to cope with the growing demand. However, the plan stated in the Paper is merely for two to be opened – one in each province currently without a university. I found it rather frustrating, in fact, that at this meeting, attended both by business and academic thought leaders, there was no resolution found, with parties possibly skirting around solutions. I need help now; I need a Cape Town that will assist me in finding employment and a chance at a future.
In fact, if I am honest, I felt the message from the morning was rather more of the same tired line that I experience on a daily basis from the companies who I phone for job openings, i.e. “I am sorry, but we are unable to assist you, given that you have no experience”. Should I question this and ask how one gains experience without being given an opportunity, I am told again, “Well, I am sorry, but that is just how we operate.”
So I close with a question : what am I to do? Do I sit back and wait, or is there someone somewhere willing to, as the expression goes, “give a guy a break” and let me start my career? Everybody started somewhere – why not let me do the same?
Rory can be contacted at Accelerate Cape Town on (021) 408 7255, by email at email@example.com, or on (084) 818 2806
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