Employment and social inclusion: implications for young adults in Swaziland.
Khumalo, Thandi F.
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The motivation for the research came from seeing young people struggle to get that first job breakthrough to the extent of compromising their qualifications for any available job, including landing in precarious jobs without suitable contracts, susceptible to manipulation. The motivation for my research was interaction with former students and relatives battling to transition from training to work careers whilst dealing with the rising expectations of society in their transition to adulthood. Methodologically, the study utilised a qualitative approach using in-depth interviews to collect primary data. Theoretically, the study was oriented around Bourdieu‘s theory of practice and Mills‘ sociological imagination. The study makes the basic assumption that employment is not only an individual personal experience requiring personal solutions, but it is also a public issue requiring public-political solutions. This research addresses two major issues. Firstly, to record the experiences of young people with employment and provide a voice for young people to share their stories of employment. Secondly, is to contribute to the literature, given the paucity of studies specifically addressing youth employment within the field dominated by unemployment literature. Research findings indicate that employment has positive outcomes and is also filled with challenges. Findings indicate a close relationship between education attainment and access to employment, education is still an important part of human capital. Employment is a life changing experience for young people, having a liberating effect that ensures independence from parents and partners, guaranteeing affordability of basic needs and luxuries, providing an opportunity to settle down and start a family, and enabling integration and participation in society. Challenges include; entering the job market and placed in jobs matching training, delayed entry into the job market encouraging volunteer work as a stepping stone to better jobs, and skills transfer problems whereby the future workforce‘ readiness is put to question. Interestingly, preference for employment supersedes entrepreneurial choices, yet the government and other key stakeholders view entrepreneurship as an alternative to a bulging labour market. The study recommends further research in the activity of young people. The scholarship failure to produce literature on young people‘s activity has caused paucity in this knowledge base.