Even as South Africa slowly emerges from the suffocating economic grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, just lately released employment statistics proceed to make for grim studying, with almost eight million people unemployed.
South Africa really recorded improved financial exercise in the fourth quarter of 2021, including an enlargement in real GDP of 1.2% compared to the previous quarter, however unemployment nonetheless reached report levels.
pressure gauge octa to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), unemployment in Q4 final yr rose to 35.3% from 34.9% within the earlier quarter. This is the best stage since the begin of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey in 2008.
Even more alarmingly, the youth unemployment fee stood at a staggering 65.5%.
The latest employment data was launched at the end of March by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), and got here just days after South Africa managed to attract R1.2 trillion in funding through the fourth South Africa Investment Conference.
Analysts have described the country’s economic system as “producing jobless growth” and consider that even with upward financial development within the medium time period, South Africa will nonetheless have an overall unemployment figure of round 30%.
Youth unemployment is a worldwide concern, even more acutely pronounced in South Africa, the place the newest figures are sounding important alarm bells.
In late 2021, Stats SA reported that two out of every three young folks under the age of 35 in South Africa are unemployed. For the age cohort under 25, this rises to three out of each four, or a jarring 75%.
But in and amongst the dire unemployment statistics there are rays of sunshine on how to begin to effectively address this socio-economic disaster.
Education is key

According to the QLFS report, of the 7,9 million unemployed persons in the fourth quarter of 2021, as many as 51,6% had training levels below matric.
This variety of unemployed drops the upper the training level. Those with a Matric move represent 38.6% of unemployed and this figure drops substantially for these with different tertiary qualifications (6.9%) and graduates who constitute solely 2.4% of South Africa’s formal unemployed.
Astron Energy’s Organisational Capability, Learning and Development Manager Lindiwe Ncongwane mentioned: “It is an often repeated mantra that training is the key to success, but the labour force survey certainly bears this out.
“Education allied to alternative is the golden key to breaking this cycle of unemployment and to create a future for younger folks in the country.”

Astron Energy, which operates South Africa’s second largest network of retail websites including the Caltex brand, runs numerous Youth Development Programmes overlaying both tutorial assist and office and experiential learning alternatives.
Astron Energy’s Youth Development Programmes embrace:




Graduate Internship Programme


According to Ncongwane, South African Corporates have a key position to play in offering opportunities for graduates and people with different qualifications to help cut back the number of unemployed, and likewise to help build a generation of employable younger individuals.
“Investments in coaching and expertise improvement, allied to training qualifications, will help construct a workforce that is multi-skilled and in a place to adapt to a multitude of tasks and industries,” she mentioned.
The 2020 Future of Work report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) found that 50% of all staff will need reskilling by 2025 as adoption of know-how increases.
The report also listed important considering and problem-solving as main skills employers imagine shall be wanted over the following 5 years, while newer tendencies centre on self-management skills similar to lively learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility.
According to Ncongwane, a key a part of Astron Energy’s focus is to equip younger folks for the world of work, not solely at Astron Energy and the petrochemical industry, but the across a range of disciplines to allow them to be globally competitive.
The company additionally runs a variety of school-level initiatives in the STEM space, but consistent with the 4th Industrial Revolution’s give consideration to the 3Cs of Communication, Critical thinking and Collaboration, has broadened this to STEAM – Science, Technology, Arts and Maths – in a bid to develop problem-solving and process-based learning.
The method ahead

“As a rustic, we have to continue investing in the education of our younger individuals, notably in the important abilities space, and then create opportunities for them to use these expertise and develop in workplace environments,” Ncongwane said.
“As corporates we want to design a range of programmes and initiatives to satisfy not only the needs of the business, but also the method forward for work – and critically the longer term employment potentialities for our younger folks.
“If we do that right, we can begin changing the outlook on the employment entrance and be certain that economic development has a tangible impact on the futures and livelihoods of the generations to come back.”

In the Youth Development area, Astron Energy runs the following programmes:

8 X Learnerships in chemical operations on the Astron Energy refinery in Milnerton, Cape Town

20 X Learnerships in Sales and New Venture Creation at Johannesburg workplaces

The Learnerships run from 1 Oct 2021 – 30 Sep 2022


Astron Energy runs a full Bursary programme which covers both underneath graduate and publish graduate studies, from 1st year to Masters Level students.
The bursaries embrace tuition fees, accommodation, books, meals, cash allowances and trip work in the form of internship/in-service-training within the company’s operations.
The programme began in 2020 and so far over 440 students have been funded.
There are presently 196 student bursars and 15 worker bursars as a part of this programme. A whole of 26 employee children are a half of the bursary programme for 2022.
The bursary covers a variety of study fields this year including:
BSc: Chemical Engineering/ BSc: Industrial Engineering/ BSC: Property Studies/ Masters: Industrial Psychology/ Honours: Financial Accounting/ Bcom: Economics/ BSc: Electrical Engineering/ Bcom/BA: Human Resources Management/ Bcom: Information Technology/ Bcom: Internal Auditing/ Bcom: Logistics/ Occupational Health and Safety/ Bcom: Supply Chain/ BSc: Analytical Chemistry.
Astron Energy also offers profitable bursars the chance to be part of the Astron Energy Graduate Training programme.

Astron Energy offers 24-month Apprenticeships in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and Instrumentation at the refinery in Cape Town. At current, the company has six apprenticeships in its manufacturing division.
Graduate Programme

The Graduate Internship Programme is run according to the assorted disciplines required by the enterprise and runs for a interval of between 18-24 months. The present consumption of Graduate interns is about to finish on 31 December 2022.

Astron Energy at present has seventy seven participants in its Learnership, Apprenticeship and Graduate Internship programmes:
LogisticsGraduate Internship13

CFOGraduate Internship11

RetailGraduate Internship5

HRGraduate Internship3


C & IGraduate Internship2

CEOGraduate Internship2

ManufacturingGraduate Internship1

STOGraduate Internship3

Strategy Graduate Internship2

SHEQGraduate Internship1


ManufacturingChemical Operations Learnership8



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