The Department of Social Development has called on all unemployed social workers and auxiliary social workers to register on the department's database by 31 March 2019.
This, the department said in a statement, is to keep a record of unemployed qualified graduates in the two fields.
"This call serves as a response to the broader government goal of facilitating access to employment and economic opportunities for young people in the country.
"This will be a pool of all unemployed social work graduates who will be considered for employment opportunities, irrespective of the source of funding for their studies.
"The database will also help to inform the department about the number of unemployed social work graduates, who have studied outside the Social Development Scholarship Programme, thus enabling efficient planning and the inclusion of all social work graduates into the government recruitment system," said department spokesperson Lumka Oliphant.
Provincial Departments of Social Development were from 2013 unable to absorb social work graduates into the system due to a lack of funding. This led to the current backlog and an increase in the number of unemployed social workers and auxiliary social workers.
"Since implementation of the scholarship programme in 2007, provincial Departments of Social Development were able to absorb social work graduates. However, since 2013, provincial departments were unable to absorb social work graduates due to lack of funding and this led to the current backlog in the absorption of social work professionals," Oliphant said.
By the end January 2019, a total of 3 969 social work graduates, who benefited from the social work scholarship programme, were still unemployed.
"It should be noted that this figure excluded those who funded their studies through other loans, bursaries and other means, hence the call for registration in the database.
"Government, through the Department of Social Development, is aiming to develop an interdepartmental human resources planning and management strategy," said Oliphant.
The strategy is to be informed by the National Development Plan (NDP) vision, which encompasses the employment of social workers as part of 55 000 social service practitioners to be required in the country by the end of the year 2030.
Social workers and auxiliary social workers, who qualify and are interested in registering on the database, are encouraged to manually submit a correctly completed registration form to their respective provincial Department of Social Development offices. Electronic submissions will not be accepted.
There are clearly marked deposit boxes at district and service offices within various provinces.
Registration forms can be accessed from all official Department of Social Development online platforms including www.dsd.gov.za, Facebook Page @SocialDevelopmentZA and Twitter @The_DSD.
The database forms can be downloaded as follows:
- Unemployed Social Worker - FORM A
- Social Auxiliary Worker - FORM B
In order to improve the accuracy of the database, the Department of Social Development may integrate data from the database with that of the Department of Labour to determine the exact unemployment rate among unemployed qualified social workers and social auxiliary workers.