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Businesses can benefit from incentives in creating job opportunities

"We remain steadfast in addressing the challenges of creating jobs, reducing poverty, building infrastructure and expanding our economy," said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in his 2012 Budget Speech.

He went on to state that employment and economic growth is the answer to poverty alleviation and while government is responsible for developments in this regard, businesses, society and organised labour need to come on board in order for significant improvements to be made.

"We commend the Finance Minister on making employment and job creation a priority on the national agenda," says Kay Vittee, CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions. "We encourage South African businesses to share in the vision of improving the economy by assisting in employment growth."

Although there was a welcome recovery in job creation during 2011, employment has not yet returned to the level it was at its peak in 2008, and the unemployment rate still remains high at 23.9%. The funds invested in job creation and the prediction of employing 332 000 people as a result is a positive sign that South Africa is moving towards its goal of creating five million jobs by 2020.

In-house training has an immediate spin-off

However, a more rapid job creation is needed. "Businesses need to look at the incentives which government offers, that will assist companies in creating employment opportunities whilst simultaneously benefiting the company. An example of this is the proposed National Tooling initiative. If businesses were to relax the need for experience as a requirement for job applicants and instead offer training to green employees, companies will be able to receive incentives and allow for more employment opportunities which, in turn, will enable them to contribute to skills development and improving the lives of many South Africans," explains Vittee.

"In-house training allows for specific skills development as needed by the organisation which means that trainees are immediately able to contribute to the growth of the organisation, and in turn, the economy. As staffing agencies we struggle to get the right candidates for the many positions that we have available due to the skills shortage. A number of staffing companies are offering school leavers effective training solutions that not only equip them with nationally recognised qualifications but also facilitate in their absorption into the workforce."

Risk will allow businesses to receive subsidies

"In the same vein, the Youth Employment Subsidy, if implemented, will incentivise business to employ South Africans between the ages of 18 and 29, who may lack essential skills. The risk involved and the training necessary to equip them for the job at hand will allow business to receive subsidies while creating job prospects and teaching skills - both of which will greatly contribute to our economic growth," Vittee says.

"Unemployment and the resulting poverty is an issue in South Africa and as the Finance Minister pointed out, we need to move away from debate and move into a sphere of action where business, together with government, are making a difference to the pace and dynamics of job creation across the whole of our economy," concludes Vittee.

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