A total of 160 trainees recently graduated after successfully completing the retail training provider, Retail Relate's Unemployed Youth Assistance Programme (UYAP).
Retail Relate provides Wholesale and Retail SETA accredited and funded retail training to matriculants who sometimes qualify for tertiary training but are hindered by financial constraints. In March last year, 196 unemployed young adults from Gauteng were selected to participate in the year long programme, which included theoretical training as well as internships at Retail Relate's retail partners.
The students are now graduating with NQF 5 qualifications, which will equip them to fill junior management posts as a start to a career in retail. Many of the graduates have already been offered jobs by retail groups.
Rectifying huge skills shortages
"The extremely high retention rate of the UYAP and the personal and professional development of these youngsters within a year is particularly gratifying," said Leigh Blochlinger, who heads up Retail Relate. "We see this as a step towards rectifying the huge skills shortages prevalent in the retail sector."
A recent report on the critical skills shortage by the Wholesale and Retail SETA has indicated that there is a shortage of 42 000 retail managers. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that close to 88% of the retail workforce, are under qualified, with education levels equivalent to matric or below.
In particular, companies are struggling to source adequately qualified and trained mid-level managers. About 70% of the jobs advertised require skilled and senior labour, while only 44.61% of potential career seekers represent the demanded skills.
A worthwhile investment
The UYAP was financed by the Wholesale and Retail SETA's skills levy fund, currently estimated to be around R350 million. "The UYAP was an extremely worthwhile investment and the outstanding level of follow through by the youngsters is a testament to the commitment by all involved parties," said Joel Dikgole, chief executive officer of the Wholesale and Retail SETA.
"We were particularly impressed with the inclusion of the learnership aspect into this comprehensively crafted programme," Dikgole added.
"The practical workplace experience gained through the internships is particularly important for the retail sector and complements the theoretical training, which will provide a sound foundation for successful careers."
Among the retailers that participated in the UYAP offering the learners vital workplace experience are The Essential Hardware Group, AutoZone, The Cambridge Group, Hoxies Foods, TWK and The Foshini Group.
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