Career Planet: Opportunities for youth through cellphone technology
70% of unemployed South Africans are aged between 15 and 35. Additionally, recent research reveals that 25% of unemployed South Africans have been job hunting, unsuccessfully, for at least 5 years. Not only do we clearly have a serious youth unemployment problem, we are also faced with the reality that a serious communication gap compromises the chances of young job and opportunities seekers. This communication gap contributes to continued unemployment, and to persistent skills gaps.
With this in mind, the DGMT worked with Career Planet to launch a mobile information hub that will offer young opportunity seekers an easily accessible platform on which they can access information on a wide range of opportunities. On the basis of the precedent set by international and local social application of mobile technology, Career Planet and the DGMT developed a project concept for a mobile information hub that would provide an eco-system of support and access to jobs and an enabling environment for skills development to improve employability. This eco-system will:
- Allow young people whose access to informational and social networks that facilitate connections to opportunity to register themselves as opportunity seekers, develop and manage a comprehensive profile, and a CV that lists their skill level, employment history, experience, and interests;
- Allow a wide range of opportunity providers to create their own profiles and load opportunities (for work, to study further, to access bursaries or student loans, for internships, for volunteering opportunities etc.);
- Allow both opportunity seekers and providers to conduct searches for opportunities and potential candidates, according to skill level, geographical location and other relevant factors;
- Create a direct channel of communication between opportunity seekers and providers, that is, allow opportunity seekers to apply for opportunities and opportunity providers to receive applications directly via the portal;
Provide youth with a supportive online community for youth to share opinions, experiences and successes;
- Advise and support entry level entrepreneurs and small businesses;
- Educate and inform youth at high school level (and their parents) on subject choices to ensure that they make informed choices;
- Educate users using e-learning modules that cover a variety of work-readiness content;
Offer personal support and advise on all career and training related issues
- Combat negativity and feelings of hopelessness and rejection among job seekers
- Regular and frequent messaging to boost self-confidence and self-esteem
Promote local role-models from ordinary people who have achieved success in their careers; and
Promote connectivity and conversation by offering free messaging on all makes of WAP enabled cell phones.
In August 2012, Career Planet’s full website, mobi site, and USSD platform were launched. Since the launch, 14 000 members have signed up, and over 1 000 opportunities have been loaded on to the site.