1530 youths have received unemployment counselling – Balopi

A Labour Market Information System to be developed by HRDC

A total of 138 470 people registered as job seekers from October 2018 to-date while 1 530 young Batswana in Gaborone and surrounding areas have received unemployment counselling, the Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, Mpho Balopi, told Parliament this week.

By far most of the job seekers, 96 929, are youths. Speaking in response to questions raised by the MP for Tonota, Pono Moatlhodi, the minister said counselling commenced on 10 July 2018 and that “the decision was not made during 2019 general elections”. The counseling, Balopi said, covered several topics that included harnessing the power of social media in looking for employment.

“The age range from those who participated in the counselling workshop is 15-35 years and beyond in some instances, depending on the gap identified,” said the minister. Balopi said unemployment counselling is a continuous process undertaken by the employment bureau of his ministry. “And as a result of the need to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols, the ministry has taken to social media platforms to provide counselling,” he added.
The ministry has increased the coverage since the unemployed persons countrywide are now able to participate in the virtual workshops held. Minister Balopi said the content of the workshops is subsequently shown on the ministry’s Facebook page.

The minister said the counselling will be rolled out to other regions in the last quarter of 2020/2021 in order to make it even more inclusive. He added that more jobs have been planned in the current and next financial year. Regarding shortage of manpower for the task, Balopi said the ministry is working in collaboration with other government departments, Business Botswana and volunteers to help in the task and ensure a holistic approach.

He disclosed that his ministry is working with the Human Resource Council (HRDC) on development of a Labour Markert Information System that will capture labour market information, including unemployed graduates, for the purpose of assisting them find employment. The counselling component is incorporated in the statement of the user requirement.

Balopi noted that the Labour Market Information System will enhance and enrich all young persons and allow them to link up with professional counselling personnel online. The MP for Tonota, Pono Moatlhodi, had asked the minister if during the 2019 general elections the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) promised to arrange counselling for all unemployed youth throughout the country, and if so to state how many have been counselled per region, what their ages are, how long the project took, and when next the exercise would take place.