Thola Umsebenzi targets 200 000 jobs by year-end

Thola Umsebenzi –

Originally posted 2 Jun 2015  00:02 


New initiative targets 200 000 jobs by year-end By taking the jobs directly to those who need them most.

Project Thola Umsebenzi, which directly translated from isiZulu means ‘get a job’ – hopes to create 200 000 jobs this year, by bringing employers to the doorstep of the unemployed.

Thabo Shole-Mashao launched the initiative in partnership with Tshwane TV and a number of other companies, with the aim of tackling the plight of unemployed South Africans, who often do not have the money or resources to actively look for work or get themselves to interviews. The project takes employers to the townships, where unemployed people are invited to bring their CVs and make their case as to why they deserve a job.

“We are trying to bring the opportunities to their doorstep,” says Shole-Mashao, the host of Tshwane TV’s ‘Making Money with Thabo’. “These are people for whom R10 is a lot of money. It’s money they would rather use to buy bread instead of buying a newspaper, or going to an internet café, to look for work.”

With South African unemployment figures last week hitting their highest levels in over a decade, at over 26%, Project Thola Umsebenzi seems a worthy cause. It kicked off two Wednesdays ago in White City, Soweto, where more than 1 000 people queued in a long curvy line in desperate hope of finding employment. On that day, more than 100 people were hired on the spot.

Before they make their sales pitches, the unemployed masses are briefly coached on presentation skills, advised on what questions they could expect, and can have CVs created, if they didn’t already have them.

Said Shole-Mashao: “The candidates then make their case in front a panel of recruiters and are asked questions. They then make their presentation in front of a camera, and will be shown in a compilation that airs on Tshwane TV. So, even if someone does not get a job, they may be spotted on television and could get a post.”

Those who do not get placed are put into a database, where they will be matched with an employer that is looking for their skill-set and level of experience, if and when one comes along.

Tshegofatso Senoelo, managing director of Senoelo Staffing Solutions, said initiatives like this benefit companies like hers, by allowing it to grow the number of candidates on its database at low cost.

“Some of these people have good CVs but don’t have the confidence to get their abilities and positive traits across in interview situations,” she said

The goal of Project Thola Umsebenzi is to cover as many townships as possible – from Galeshewe in Kimberley and Palm Springs in the Vaal, to Tlhabane in Rustenburg and Embalenhle in Mpumalanga – but Shole-Mashao admits that success, in reaching the 200 000 target, depends on getting companies to support the initiative, not only in terms of providing the job opportunities, but also to provide food and drinks while people wait their turn. Because it is a long process. In Soweto, people queued from 8:00 am, even though proceedings only kicked off at 10:00 am, and the process went on long into the evening.

This Wednesday, the project will head to Mamelodi in Tshwane, where Shole-Mashao has called on all companies looking to hire or to help with the initiative, to get involved.

“We are engaging with companies and saying, ‘come to where people are, because the people don’t have the money to come to you’,” said Shole-Mashao.

For more information on the project, and how to get involved, >

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