President Jacob Zuma with wife Sizakele Khumalo Zuma at the opening of parliament in Cape Town. (Nielen de Klerk, News24)
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's state-of-the-nation speech presented a realistic picture of the country's challenges, an employment agency said on Thursday night.
"We applaud the government on the realistic representation of the current state of the country and hope that the goals set for the years ahead will go a long way to tackling the issues of education, poverty and inequality in our country," said Quest Staffing Solutions CEO Kay Vittee.
She said the private sector needed to heed Zuma's call to action and use the latest employment statistics as a motivation to fight unemployment and promote skills development.
Last week, the Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by Statistics SA revealed that South Africa's labour force decreased by 235 000 people between the third and fourth quarters of 2012.
"Graduate programmes, learnerships and other skills training initiatives need to become standard practice for businesses who really wish to create a generation of capable employees," said Vittee.
"Not only will this provide many South Africans with the chance to gain experience..., but it will also benefit companies to equip their upcoming workforce with the abilities that will secure the businesses longevity."
Vittee said more decisive and purposeful action was needed if the government's target of five percent economic growth was to be achieved.
She commended the government's progress on the completion of 98 schools by March.
Zuma announced that 40 of the schools were in the Eastern Cape.
Quest belongs to the JSE-listed Adcorp Holdings [JSE:ADR].
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