Problem Statement & Theory of Change

The Problem Statement

South Africa is at a particularly important moment of transition. Economic growth is slow, poverty & grant dependence is increasing and entrepreneurship declining. The education and training system have not been able to able to up-skill the young population and the unemployed to get jobs in that economy. There are enough of the low skill jobs needed to reduce unemployment. The unemployment status in South Africa remains a pandemic. According to the National Development Plan, Unemployment as its highest level since 2003 as well as according to the expanded definition of unemployment, the rate rose to 36.6% (second quarter of 2017 stats SA).

Three (3) quarters of the employed and 90% of the 7,5 million unemployed are from the African population group; with the unemployment rate this high (including discouraged work seekers), South Africa’s key problem is a pernicious skills trap. As a result, growth is limited as a big percentage of the labour force are underutilized and the scarce state resources are used for social grants.

South Africa needs growth to create the basis for prosperity and development to integrate all into the economy transformation to share the benefits equitably and unleash our full human potential. The open sophisticated economy has not been able to create enough of the low skill jobs needed to reduce unemployment, whilst the education and training system has not been able to up-skill the young black population and the unemployed to get jobs in that economy. As a result, this limits growth as a big percentage of the labour force are unutilised and scare state resources are used for what in some sense is really a stop gap measure.

In the face of all the efforts made in developing graduates, the country is still faced with challenges of graduates’ unemployment, un-employability skills development, skills mismatch between labor market needs and quality and relevance knowledge skills and competencies produced by education institutions.

SAGDA has over the years aligned its objectives with national priorities and the government’s National Skills Development Strategies and broader development goals; however, the following challenges still exist:

  • High Unemployment of Graduates,
  • Lack of experiential skills,
  • Hopelessness, and
  • Poor Skills Profile

Theory of Change

For the past two (2) decades, we have implemented, collaborated and linked our mandate to the national priorities and the government’s National Skills Development Strategies and broader development partners which has led to the emergent of a new cohort of graduates.

As a nation, various development partners are still focusing on the challenge of unemployment broadly and specifically youth and graduates’ unemployment, un-employability, skills development, skills mismatch to close the disjuncture between labor market needs and quality and relevance knowledge skills and competencies produced by education institutions.

SAGDA Investment in partnership with The South African Graduates Development Association has observed the emergent of a new plight faced by unemployed graduates. There is a new cohort of qualified graduates that have been placed and completed the Internships, Work Integrated Learning and Workplace Experience programmes to acquire experiential training opportunities but remain unemployed. These graduates have exhausted the value chain of skills development from School, Varsity or TVET to Internships, WIL and Workplace Experience.

The emerging trend is that the new cohort of qualified graduates that have been placed and completed the Internships, Work Integrated Learning and Workplace Experience programmes to acquire experiential training opportunities remains unemployed then becomes attempting to use the Internships. WIL and Workplace Experience programmes as a means of employment which defeats the intended purpose and objectives of the skills developments.