Hope grows for more unemployed graduates

Lonette Wallis

“After five years of struggle to get a community service placement following a completion of my Ph.D. degree in Pharmacy, I realised there is a high number of unemployed graduates, even for those with a qualification in scarce skills, but after reading the story about how luck changed for an unemployed Mathematician Master’s graduate in Courant last week, I regained hope for a brighter future.” These are the words of Lonette Wallis, a Ph.D. Pharmacy graduate struggling to find a job.
Wallis, a North West graduate, is currently serving her community service year at the Free State Department of Health after years of submitting applications without any luck. She says submitting applications for placement has been a daily struggle. Without the compulsory community service she would not be able to practise as a pharmacist.
“After completion of my undergraduate degree I furthered my studies, because I had a passion of specialising in HIV-related research. It was, however, not my plan to study for a full eleven years. I went on to study further because I had not been placed to serve the statutory community service,” says Wallis.
Similar to the Kovsie Mathematician Alumnus, Seun Komolafe, who has been seeking employment since the completion of his first degree, the two are in a position that resembles many of South Africa’s youth. Both Wallis and Komolafe are currently looking for employment. Wallis expresses that in the five years she has been struggling to find placement to serve her statutory year she had once been told that she would not be placed because she was over qualified.
“Once I read Seun Komolafe’s story I knew exactly how he felt. We are told that education is the key to success and we work hard in our professions to achieve something and accomplish the best we can, but after completion of our studies we job hunt with minimal prospects,” she adds.
Wallis says she is, however, hopeful that something will come up in time. Meanwhile the Kovsie Master’s graduate has since attended several job interviews and is awaiting a response from companies with interest. – Katleho Morapela