SA youth urged to pursue health jobs as shortage of skilled workers is predicted

16 April 2021 - 06:00
The Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority is calling on SA's youth to consider careers in the healthcare sector. File photo
The Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority is calling on SA's youth to consider careers in the healthcare sector. File photo
Image: GALLO IMAGES/DARREN STEWART

South Africa’s youth are being called on to pursue healthcare skills and professions as the country is projected to head towards a shortage of skilled health workers. 

The call is being driven by the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA). It has launched a career portal aimed at informing learners about how to pursue health, social development and veterinary-related careers in the country. 

While the World Health Organisation (WHO) projects a worldwide workforce shortfall of about 18 million healthcare workers by 2030, recent local data shows SA also has cause for concern.

Earlier this month, Xpatweb’s Critical Skills Survey 2020/21 highlighted that “health professions and related clinical sciences” are among the country’s current top 10 most in-demand skills.

The home affairs department also recently published its draft critical skills list for SA. General medical practitioners, registered nurses and hospital, retail and industrial pharmacists are listed as critical skills in short supply in the country.

HWSETA’s CEO Elaine Brass believes the Covid-19 pandemic has further compounded issues, making these skill shortages glaringly apparent.

“Health workers are among those who’ve been heralded as our national heroes during the pandemic. They have had to care for patients suffering from the coronavirus while fearing ]they could fall ill too. We owe our support to those on the frontline at this time. By addressing these skill shortages, we will be able to better support our healthcare workers in the long run," she said.

Brass said the pandemic has fuelled public interest in the healthcare system.

"Now is the time to have these tough conversations to attract more school leavers to the sector, and to ultimately increase the workforce trained each year.”

She said the HWSETA career portal offers a wide range of resources and career guidance advice.

“We are urging the youth to consider careers in the health, social development and veterinary sectors. A crucial part of achieving a skilled healthcare workforce that meets the needs of South Africans  is creating awareness among school leavers about the exciting number of career opportunities that exist in these sectors.”

TimesLIVE


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