World Youth Skills Day: Skills that can be learned from the minibus taxi industry
World Youth Skills Day:
Skills that can be learned from the minibus taxi industry
Declared an international day by the United Nations in 2014, World Youth Skills Day on the 15th of July celebrates the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work, and entrepreneurship.
As the world transitions into one of sustainable development, crucial skills needed by those entering the job market are problem-solving, social skills, communication skills, information literacy skills, media literacy skills, and critical thinking. In South Africa, though, the youth unemployment rate is 63.9%, so traditional trades such as plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, and mechanics could be the solution.
While many believe that tertiary education is the enabler of employment, the reality is that even qualified individuals are struggling to find employment. Employers seek candidates with experience, sometimes several years’ worth, in addition to qualifications, but there seems to be a mismatch between what the youth have and what the market requires. There is an urgent need for collaboration between students, higher education institutions, government, society, and industry to help find solutions to the skills gap in the youth unemployment sector. Work experience through mentorships, learnerships, or apprentice-type programmes is often an easier gateway to employment.
The minibus taxi industry, ever-expanding to meet the needs of an increasing population, is one that can offer a variety of skills to the youth sector. Currently providing employment to over 650 000 people, as taxi drivers, queue marshals, administrative support, car washers, and informal vendors, the industry is growing.
SA Taxi offers various training courses and support programmes, for taxi owners, drivers, taxi rank technicians, and mechanics, helping to upskill and provide marketable skills. They also offer apprenticeships for mechanics, providing the necessary skills and experience required to study further or advance a career.
Trades are one of the simplest entry points to self-employment and can provide a good income. What starts as an apprenticeship for a mechanic, could pave the way to being the owner of a fleet of minibus taxis, or an auto-repair business with many employees.