It is no secret that one of the grave ills that South Africa faces is the high unemployment rate.

In an effort to assist the youth to better deal with unemployment, businesswoman Zimkitha Gebeda has pioneered Skills Empire, a skills development programme to equip and upskill the underprivileged.

Conversing with Gebeda, she revealed that this work found her as she had been doing work affiliated with youth development.

She highlights that it happened “by chance” after she fell in love with the idea of going on a journey with someone and watching them grow.

Talking about Skills Empire, she said, “When I started the business, I had just grown so weary of hearing about our high unemployment rate in SA, especially among the youth, and seeing how the efforts to deal with this were simply not enough.

“So, I thought, why not become an implementer of social change and use my vast experience in the sector to create a skills development vehicle that can be part of the solution?” commented Gebeda.

The businesswoman further shared that the requirements placed by employers often create a huge gap that makes it hard for those seeking jobs.

“The jobs are there sometimes and they are available but they are too high or far up for the matriculants. There is a gap where the learners are sitting with their degree certificates and where the employer says I want five years of experience.

“So the idea of helping young people to at least climb a few steps to get there is important. Sometimes it is not even the education that is needed. It is how to win an interview, how to be confident, how to sell yourself so it is those little things,” she shared.

With this programme, Gebeda said, it was a step up for someone else who needs it. The programme focuses on accessibility for those who do not have it.

With her Skills Empire it has been revealed that those who had been under her wing are now either employed or have gained the necessary skills to find employment.


Written by

Anita Nkonki

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