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Education is key for youth empowerment

Article provided by EasyBiz

The development of skills required by the marketplace, from trades to specialisations like engineering and medicine, should be a priority, says Gary Epstein, MD of EasyBiz Technologies.

The theme of Youth Month 2018, ‘Live the legacy: towards a socioeconomically empowered youth’, could not be more appropriate given the country’s long-standing struggle with youth unemployment. Currently standing at about 38%, South Africa’s high youth unemployment rate is holding younger generations back from the freedoms that come with financial security, further fuelling societal issues of poverty and crime.

This is according to Gary Epstein, Managing Director at EasyBiz Technologies, who asks: “What would it take to truly empower our youth, ensure their access to such freedoms and enable them to leave a legacy within their communities?”

“June is celebrated as Youth Month in South Africa, with a specific focus on 16 June, Youth Day, which commemorates the 1976 Soweto youth who died fighting against the apartheid regime for freedom and equal education. This, education, remains key today.”

Epstein suggests the development of skills required by the marketplace, from trades, to specialisations like engineering and medicine, should be the leading priority. “Certain skills, such as those in finance and accounting, can also be applied across a range of industries, thereby increasing opportunities for employment.” 

“With President Cyril Ramaphosa committing to phasing in fully subsidised higher education and training for poor and working-class students in 2018, these are the skills we should be encouraging our youth to study. Otherwise we may be at risk of increasing the number of unemployed graduates in our society.”

Epstein shares his insights into the top five careers that South African youth should be considering to achieve economic empowerment.

Finance or accounting manager

All businesses have financial departments, and so the demand for these skills is ongoing. The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) has noted South Africa needs an additional 22 000 certified accountants to occupy the current demand gap.


To meet the requirements of the growing population, the country’s public and private healthcare sectors are in constant need of trained doctors.

Analytics professional

With increasing reliance on technology, businesses collect, store and analyse massive amounts of data on a daily basis. These advances in computing and automation have resulted in high demand for analytics professionals.


South Africa produces, and retains, far too few engineers. With many South African engineering graduates choosing to work abroad, the national marketplace presents many opportunities for those wanting to apply their skills locally. Epstein himself obtained his tertiary qualification in electronic engineering.


Artisans, such as mechanics, have been in high demand in South Africa for many years. Earlier this year, Deputy Secretary General of the ANC, Jessie Duarte, noted there is a staggering shortfall of 40 000 qualified artisans in the country.

“The youth of 1976 took a stand to secure the freedoms many of us take for granted today. To honour their memory, we need to keep their focus on education top of mind. Investing in education and prioritising fields which offer the greatest opportunities of employment in the current market is imperative,” concludes Epstein.

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