Paving the way for unemployed youth

Entering the job market can be quite tough but youth were given a confidence boost at an information session with Harambee, an NGO which works to help place unemployment youth in jobs.

They were encouraged to network, highlight their skills and feel confident when attending an interview.

Harambee partnered with community organisation Destiny Changers-Difference Makers to host a workshop for youth, who received certificates at the Rehoboth Community Life Centre, corner of Weltevreden and Mosquito roads in Rocklands, on Thursday February 23.

Christopher Louw, Harambee area manager and facilitator, drew an inverted pyramid explaining the process employers follow when recruiting staff.

He said they first start “in house”, looking at staff with existing skills and talents to fill the vacancy.

They then check with partners or service providers they often use, who may know people; and approach people they are acquainted with and know the job environment as these people are able to prove themselves, which is very important. Even before advertising the post, they would contact an agency.

The bottom tip of the pyramid would be where applicants are submitting their curriculum vitae in response to an advertisement.

Being at the bottom of the pile of CVs and competing with thousands of applicants is not ideal, he said.

Mr Louw then encouraged applicants to network.

“Use your connections to speak to people and tell them about your skills and talents,” he said.

He used an example of a boyfriend visiting his girlfriend every day and instead of having an awkward conversation about lazing at their house all the time and eating the family’s food, he said, speak to her father or mother about wanting to work and share your skills.

They could in turn speak to someone at their employer, in the human resources department, and submit your CV, which moves to the top of the pile and in the hands of someone who knows of you.

Mr Louw encouraged applicants to list their skills, include volunteering stints and represent themselves well.

He also cautioned about Facebook use and WhatsApp status updates which employers may check to complete profiles on candidates. But he said social media can be used constructively.

“Start up a conversation with people on social media who can help you with employment, share your skills and work experiences,” he said.

“No one owes you anything. Take control,” he said.