How the transport sector can create dignified work for young people
The Stats SA Labour Force Survey for the last quarter of 2021 reported the youth unemployment rate at 66.5%, which is a shocking figure. In addition to this, out of the 7.9 million unemployed people, 51.6% of these did not have a matric certficate, 38.6% had a matric certificate, only 2.4% are graduates, while people with other forms of tertiarty education stands at 6.9%. This low number of graduates indicates the harsh unemployment reality, and a national crisis.
Upskilling and development programmes by the government and private sector such as Youth Employment Service (YES), are making a difference in addressing this, but in order to create dignified and meaningful opportunities, the workplace skills deficit should be drastically closed.
The minibus taxi industry is ideally placed to offer formal training through mentorship and on the job training. SA Taxi has previously provided incubation support services for taxi owner-drivers, as well as upskilling programmes for young mechanics, in the form of theoretical and practical training. Chief Customer Service Officer for SA Taxi, Maroba Maduma, said,
“We believe the private sector has a major role to play in supporting the skills economy. By enabling an ecosystem where evolving skills can be developed, we can ensure the future of an industry that supports the entire economy.”
While the minibus taxi industry may not be an attractive choice of sector to young people looking for employment, it is an industry with much opportunity. There is a need for trainers, accountants, operations managers, people with IT, marketing and business development skills – and that’s just on the business side. The minibus taxi industry currently provides employment for 650 000 people who curretly work as taxi drivers, queue marshals, car washers and informal vendors in taxi ranks, as well as administrative support.
In a world dominated by digital, mobile and social technologies, there is a wide field of opportunities, particularly in fleet management, mobile payments, e-hailing methods and customer experience. Approaches to providing employment opportunities to the youth of South Africa can be relevant and adaptive.