Both individuals and companies are often overwhelmed by the growing tide of unemployment– and this inertia is often the greatest hurdle when it comes to solving this problem.

Careerlinx, an innovative Durban based non-profit organization, isn’t about to concede that this is a mountain too high to climb and has launched a R100 for 100 Days campaign. “While most South Africans think they have neither the time nor the resources to help reduce our endemic unemployment, we believe that we can pool resources via very small donations to make a difference,” says founder and executive director, Rachel Engelbrecht.

Careerlinx is appealing to individuals to donate R100 and then encourage their friends, family and colleagues to do the same. It is also asking companies to donate and then challenge colleagues and competitors to match or better their contributions.

At present, according to Stats SA, the national unemployment rate stands at 26.4 percent while an estimated 63% of South Africa’s youth is jobless. “We are deeply concerned about the rising unemployment rate amongst South Africa’s young people. Our ‘born free’ generation is caught in the shackles of poverty, poor health, crime and gang activities. The reality is that many of them will become adults who have neverworked and have lost hope.

This is creating an ever growing crisis in an already volatile political climate in South Africa,” she says. Careerlinx was birthed to bridge the gap between South Africa’s unemployed youth and companies wishing to employ entry level people.

“In an extremely difficult economy with rising inflation and costs, companies are faced with retrenching rather than hiring staff. Those that are still able to employ entry level workers find themselves faced with a terrifying tide of desperate people. Most are unskilled and don’t know how to operate within the working environment,” she explains.

The organization does not turn away the so called “unemployable” as they are one of the groups that need help the most. Instead, Careerlinx works as both an employment facilitator and a provider of work readiness training. A lack of workplace readiness is often the biggest challenge faced by first-time entrants into the workplace.

A lack of exposure and limited knowledge of the business environment as well as underdeveloped interpersonal or soft skills – which is particularly prevalent amongst young job seekers from disadvantaged backgrounds – often makes candidates seem unemployable. Careerlinx director, Jennifer Higgs, believes that both the public and private sectors do not realize that there is a massive gap between the ability to operate within a work environment and skills development.

Without work readiness training, skills development is often not possible, she says. From the get go, the biggest skills problems are elementary English literacy and maths which often disqualifies candidates from even the most basic jobs. “We are working in a seemingly hopeless space. But we are not prepared to sit on the sidelines and write people off because they aren’t easy to help. In spite of overwhelming operational and funding challenges, we have managed to connect an increased number of unemployed candidates from 22 KwaZulu-Natal communities with both employers and earning opportunities,” adds Careerlinx director, Lungile Shandu.

To develop an employable entry level young candidate and to link him or her to a job or earning opportunity costs around R2000 per person. Although it is still a very young organisation, Careerlinx has registered over 3508 unemployed young people on its database, submitted 970 CVs to prospective potential employers and found 523 candidates jobs or earning opportunities.

For further information, please contact Rachel Engelbrecht on 0845561329 or email: