The Director of Human Resources Development Council (HRDC), Dr Fernando Siamisang has appealed to the business sector to help address the rising youth unemployment.
Speaking during the launch of the Business Botswana Northern Trade Fair last week in Francistown, Dr Siamisang revealed that to date there are 22 000 unemployed graduates that registered with the Department of Public Servant Management (DPSM) between 2010 and 2014. He added that analysis shows that most unemployed graduates are in the area of Business Management, Information and Technology, Social Sciences and Humanities.
“Allow me therefore to challenge the Business Sector to come with ideas, innovations and opportunities for not only unemployment of graduates, but general youth unemployment,” he said.
Dr Siamisang said HRDC is looking for ideas and opportunities of partnering with the Business Sector in re-tooling and upskilling the graduates with the aim of increasing their opportunities of employment. He also said that they are looking at partnering with the business sector on graduate internship and apprenticeship with the aim of making graduates ready for the job and absorbing the graduates on full time employment.
“We are also looking most importantly for entrepreneurship opportunities that will allow unemployed graduates and other unemployed youth for starting small businesses and creating jobs for the other unemployed youth,” he said.
Touching on the mandate and goals of HRDC, Dr Siamisang reminded the participants that on the 14th of August 2013, Parliament passed an Act establishing the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) with a broad mandate to advice government on policy matters of National Human Resource Development and coordination of the National Resource Strategy (NHRDS) that was approved in 2009.
“The NHRDS aims at ensuring a coordinated and efficient way of education and training from early childhood through to primary, secondary, tertiary and life after graduation that includes work place learning and lifelong learning,” he said.
He also said fundamental to the mandate and goals of HRDC and goals of the NHRDS is to turn around education and training from a supply-driven to demand ÔÇô driven system. He said the skills must be defined and requested by employers (private and public sectors) and not guessed and provided by colleges and universities with little or no consultation as has been the case in the past. He revealed that HRDC has established twelve sector committees to develop sector based and national resource development plans to address the misalignment of supply of graduates and demands from the labour market.
“More importantly the, HRDC is charged with the responsibility of advising on development of skills that will influence economic growth and diversification,” he said.
He applauded education institutions for their continuous participation in the Botswana Business Northern Trade Fair. He said such participation by these institutions side by side with the business sector who are employers of their graduates, can enable the employers to give them feedback on the quality and relevance of skills development in the training institutions. He also said while planning for national resource development, the HRDC through the sector committees is continually reflecting on national problems that includes graduate unemployment.