“For the youth of South Africa to fully realise their potential it is imperative to address the issues of poverty alleviation and job creation in the country,” said David Mabusela, Deputy Principal of the Central Johannesburg College (CJC) at the Opening Ceremony of the CJC Job Fair 2010 ‘Discovering Potential’ initiative in Parktown last week. Recent research has indicated that 2.8 million young people in South Africa are categorised as NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training). In addition, approximately 1.5 million lost employment opportunities since the downturn of the economy leaving a lot of South Africans in desperate need of employment. As a Further Education and Training (FET) institution, CJC’s mandate is to help people in the margins of society by bringing them into the mainstream through vocational training.

Vocational Education Graduates are faced with the age old problem of needing experience in order to get a job but needing a job in order to gain experience. The Job Fair, an activity of the CJC Centre for Employment and Entrepreneurship Development (CEED) creates a platform for youth with vocational qualifications to meet prospective employers in a neutral environment. “CJC encourages private and public employers to work with our graduates. You may not give them a permanent job,” says CJC Principal Motsumi Makhene, “but give them an opportunity to learn from you through an internship or career relevant volunteer placement, to gain confidence in themselves and more importantly, to assist them in completing the required work integrated learning that leads to a National Diploma.”

What made this year’s Job Fair unique was the event sponsorship by the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services (merSETA) and the partnership with the Association of Personnel Service Organisation (APSO) and their network of partners. “APSO is delighted at the opportunity to work with CJC CEED in building bridges between the college environment and the world-of-work. As part of our mandate, APSO is committed to empowering work seekers to understand their rights and show them how to be ‘job ready’ so as to make the most of their engagements with the recruitment industry, one of the key entry points into the world-of-work. The 2010 Job Fair was a great success and we look forward to building a long-term relationship going forward” said Natalie Singer, Executive: Operations at APSO. The College continues its partnership with APSO and looks to extend its collaboration with more SETA’s for the May 2011 Provincial Job Fair for all 8 Gauteng Further Education and Training Colleges.

An exciting highlight at the opening ceremony of the job fair this year was the donation by ZF Friedrichshafen AG South Africa, of a number of CNC machines to CJC. ZF is one of the world’s leading automotive industry suppliers specializing in driveline and chassis technologies with a workforce of about 100 000 employees operating 119 plants in 25 countries. These machines will be strategically used by CJC to develop a skilled labour force of CNC technicians within South Africa. “This is not just a donation of equipment,” said Dieter Kreissel, Plant Manager of ZF Auto Industrial Brakes and Chassis, “we want to make a difference to the youth of the country and are able to do so through our relationship with CJC.”

Over 80 members of private and public employer sector exhibiting at the fair and invited guests were delighted with the finale of the CJC Job Fair 2010 Opening Ceremony with the presentation of an impressive birthday cake to commemorate the centennial anniversary of Clonave, the former home of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, author of Jock of the Bushveld. A heritage building based on the Parktown Campus, Clonave is now the home of CJC’s CEED, the Centre behind the Job Fair and Workforce Development initiatives. The CJC CEED stand at the Job Fair 2010 provided a brilliant illustration of the restoration efforts, including renders and plans for green retrofitting of the 100-year old heritage house. “We have an exciting restoration plan for Clonave and welcome the participation of private and public sector partners to contribute to this effort either financially or through participation in our project to document and archive the stories around this beautiful house” said Principal Makhene.

For more information regarding restoration efforts of Clonave and the archive project, please e-mail clonave@cjcceed.com. For more information about CJC CEED or Job Fair 2010 please e-mail jobfair2010@cjcceed.com or alternatively contact Koki Kassaye, CEED Workforce Development Director on 011- 642-1993