South Africa is faced with an increasing alarming rate of unemployed graduates. In 2014, 185 375 students graduated from South Africa’s universities. This number includes both under-graduate and post-graduates students from all 23 South African universities. The 2015 Statistics South Africa indicated that the number of unemployed graduates has increased from 8.6% in 2008 to 12.9% in 2015.
Phomolong is a community in Ekurhuleni and it is also experiencing a high volume of unemployed graduates. Although career ‘expos’ have been held in the community that has not led to a decrease in the number of unemployed graduates in the community. Most of the programmes developed by the government accommodate unskilled youth and the skilled ones are left behind. These programmes include a programme such as the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), the programme is not fully inclusive of graduates. An art entrepreneurial training centre is needed to encourage economic participation of unemployed graduates in Ekurhuleni.
The aforementioned project is aligned with the Goal 8 of the Millennium Development Goals. Goal 8 aims to develop a global partnership for development. In the 2015 Millennium Development Goals report it was stated that developing countries imported 79% of their imports to developed countries freely. The rate or percentage of graduates who have the intentions of starting their own businesses is low in South Africa.South Africa’s department of Arts and Culture’s five year strategic plan focuses on the following themes; skills development, economic development, development preservation and promotion of arts, culture and heritage, preservation of access to information and social cohesion and national building. This five year strategic plan reflects that the department is not only focusing on improving individuals skills but improving their skills with those that are required in the art employment market. The department aims to achieve economic growth through the above mentioned which indicates that arts have government support in South Africa.
An art entrepreneurial training centre is one of the ways in which these unemployed graduates can acquire more skills and utilize those skills in an entrepreneurial manner. The art centre will be a form of institution where they will learn while being economically active. In the centre they can learn different forms of art and entrepreneurial skills. A platform to keep them occupied while waiting to get absorbed into the labour market.
South Africa needs to create a society that is not dependent on the state but one that is able and willing to better itself. Programmes such as internships have been created by both the public and private sector as an instrument to control graduate unemployment. However, the number of unemployed graduates continues to escalate over the years. It is essential that we explore available ways to encourage economic participation of unemployed graduates as a country.