Final year students studying towards degrees in industries at risk of job losses share their fears

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University student Mzomvelo Stofile (PHOTO: Supplied by Mzomvelo Stofile)
University student Mzomvelo Stofile (PHOTO: Supplied by Mzomvelo Stofile)

Just over two weeks ago the South African government introduced different alert levels for the lockdown period. On 1 May the country moved from level 5 to level 4; this allowed for more industries to open and some day-to-day activities to resume.

Read more: Zikhona Sodlaka on artists struggling during lockdown: “Freelancers are starving”

However, many industries are still in the dark as to when they’ll be allowed to resume activity, and some businesses have shut down completely due to the lack of revenue coming in. This has left many people facing retrenchment. With more people unemployed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, what does this mean for final-year university students?

DRUM spoke to three final-year students about their feelings on the future.

Mzomvelo Stofile (25)

Bachelor of Arts: journalism, organisational psychology and information systems

“I would love to study further but some situations are pushing me to find work and help at home. I am worried about my future because in my mind, I had already planned out which places I would like to send my CV to. However, with the current situation, I have worries as to what is going to happen in the future. Is my degree going to be enough to secure a good job for me or am I required to go the extra mile and focus on creating work for myself? This stresses me every day because if things remain this way I might be stuck at home with a degree, but I hope things won’t be like this forever.

“If things remain this way and I do not find employment next year, my plan B is pursuing a career in the music industry. I have been doing music for quite a long time now and I have even registered myself as an artist.”

Ithi Muteyi (22)

Bachelor of Commerce: economics (honours)

“I want to finish my honours first and then I’m going to work. However, with everything going on I don’t know whether we’re going to finish in time for me to work next year. I don’t feel like I’m progressing with online learning; there’s a lot of adjusting to do. If I want to work in this field, I will need to do my honours. With companies trying to recover, a lot of people are going to be retrenched. There is going to be less demand for workers, and I’m worried I might not find a job. I’m trying to be positive but it’s possible. Companies will be looking for people who are more experienced.

“One of the options I had as my plan B was teaching English in Asia but the problem with that is that I don’t know how relations are going to be after the pandemic. Besides that, I have not thought of any other plan yet.”

Khanyisa Fetsha (24)

Bachelor of Commerce: business management

“I am worried about the future and how my studies will be going forward. This pandemic will also affect my skills in the future in a workplace structure as we are being given work to do on our own. We are not being made to understand the work and the seriousness of the workplace environment and the business market. I also fear that the lack of business during this pandemic will create more unemployment and make it harder to find a job.

“My alternative is to study further and do my honours next year. I will only start getting work experience the year after when I do my master’s degree part time. Having a higher qualification and work experience will increase the chances of me finding permanent employment in the future.”

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