Thousands queue for jobs

In their desperation, some of the desperate youth jumped the line to make it to the front.

30 October 2019 | Local News

As political parties gear up for the 27 November general election, the desperation for jobs has led to thousands of unemployed young people scrambling for nine cleaning jobs at the two state hospitals in Windhoek.

In March this year Namibian Sun reported that one third of Namibia's youth was without jobs and that was obvious when pandemonium broke out at the Windhoek Central and Katutura hospitals yesterday where thousands of hopefuls queued, most of them Grade 10 dropouts.

In their desperation, some jumped the line to make it to the front but were stopped in their tracks by security guards.

The health ministry's executive director Ben Nangombe said they had advertised nine vacancies and yesterday's scramble was unfortunately part of the selection process.

“When we advertise a job, we expect people to apply. We have no limit on the number who can apply. What we will do on our part is to go down the selection criteria and see which ones will be called for an interview,” he said.

“It is such a painful process. They do not have any experience so we had no other choice but to call them all for a screening test,” a senior human resources official told Namibian Sun.

Asked why this style of selection was followed, the official said: “Some people did not indicate whether they had special needs or disabilities. The forms were poorly filled in so in order to give everyone a fair chance we decided to call them in.”

The official added that other government institutions said they had learned a lesson from this experience and would just fill vacant posts with 'struggle kids'.

The queue outside the Windhoek Central hospital yesterday snaked out into the street as desperate unemployed youngsters clutched their documents, praying that their names would make it into the hat.

On the other side of town, at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital, another line of desperate people stretched from the nurses' home to the front of the hospital.

One young woman, Annelina Johannes, said the situation was very “disappointing” since they had to wait for hours to make it to the front of the line.

Another young woman said she had applied in February already and was only informed last week that the interview would take place this week.

Another young man said he had trained as a forklift operator at a vocational training centre and out of desperation decided to try his luck by applying for a cleaning post in the public service.

For some, the basic screening test was too difficult and they left as soon as they had laid eyes on the questions.

“It is too difficult, I cannot do it,” said one of the applicants as he returned his questionnaire to the human resource officer.

Time bomb

The youth unemployment rate in Namibia increased to 46% in 2018. The worst hit are the rural youth who have little education and no opportunities in their areas.

In 2018, labour minister Erkki Nghimtina said youth unemployment was a ticking time bomb that could explode at any time if not adequately addressed.

At the time the minister said youth unemployment figures showed that not only was the weak economy unable to create enough jobs for young people, but the situation was exacerbated by a lack of coordination between education and training institutions in the design of training programmes.

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