Matt Surkont is the chief executive of BlueSky.
Matt Surkont is the chief executive of BlueSky.

Job creation is a group effort

By Opinion Time of article published Apr 29, 2021

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By: Matt Surkont

Job creation is critical to South Africa’s post-Covid economic recovery. This is not something that the government can drive alone – whether through public policy changes, economic stimulus packages or other interventions.

In order for South Africa to realise its economic growth needs, the private sector has to step up and directly train the skills it requires to drive its own growth and create jobs.

For local enterprise cloud technology solution provider BlueSky, this meant starting an academy five years ago.

As an ICT sector business, the ongoing skills shortage has the potential to hinder our growth. This is why we decided to train our own skills – and hire them into the business.

Some 40 percent of BlueSky’s 100-odd employees have come through the Academy programme. The BlueSky Academy sources talent using recruitment platforms, LinkedIn, referrals and puts applicants through a formal assessment to check for capability, competency and chemistry fit.

If they’re suitable, they are enrolled in the three-year programme where they are trained on Salesforce skills through Salesforce’s Trailhead learning platform.

As a Salesforce Gold partner, this is where our greatest need lies.

Each intern is expected to complete two Salesforce certifications within the first six months. They are taken into the business to work on projects as soon as possible, where they are actively coached and mentored by all BlueSky staff.

Candidates are fairly paid and incentivised to perform – which also helps us ensure we don’t lose them the moment they are qualified.

"My journey thus far has been nothing short of challenging and amazing,” says Academy intern Thuto Klaas, who is part of this year’s intake.

“It blows my mind watching the trajectory of my career since I joined and imagining all the endless possibilities for my future in tech. I get to work with and for one of the biggest banks on the continent. I have the most amazing experiences and get to learn from industry giants. I keep smashing career goals and I couldn’t be more excited to see what the future holds.”

Fellow intern Zethembe Mbatha has been with the company a little over a year. “I am currently based at Standard Bank as a Salesforce Support Officer; on a daily basis I interact with different people from different parts of the world,” he says.

“I am part of a wonderful crew of three, which is helping drive the Standard Bank group’s adoption of Salesforce through its Trailhead learning platform.

“In a short space of time, I have become a five-time Salesforce certified expert. The vast wealth of experience and knowledge from the individuals within the company has really fast tracked my growth and I could not be happier for joining the team,” he said.

The Academy takes in varying numbers of interns each year depending on the company’s skills requirements. This year it’s taking on 20 interns, and those that it can’t employ will graduate with qualifications and three years’ experience, placing them firmly on the path to career success in other organisations.

Matt Surkont is the chief executive of BlueSky.

*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or title sites.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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