File Image: Uber
CAPE TOWN - Lulaway,  a job creation organisation, and ride hailing service Uber have joined forces to create South Africa’s maiden recruitment and training centre at Century City, Cape Town,  Andile Mkhosana, the chairperson  of Lulaway, said on Wednesday.

The training centre will be dedicated to the registering and training Uber’s driver-partner applicants.

“With South Africa’s unemployment rate at 26.7 percent and some experts projecting it will reach 27 percent later in the year, we need to come up with smart solutions to provide opportunities for jobless South Africans. 

"Initiatives such as the Uber-Lulaway partnership, where two innovative companies use cutting-edge technology to drive socio-economic growth, is one way of addressing the challenge,” said Mkhosana.

He said as Lulaway handled the registration process and recruitment of the candidates it would ease up potential drivers having to register on Uber’s website or app to become driver partners.

“We have streamlined the process for drivers to apply to become Uber driver-partners. Our applicant system is a sophisticated and tech-driven way to register and track applicants in the entry-level entrepreneur sector. At the centre, our staff assist all applicants to register via our online Lulaway assessments and then go through work-readiness training to help them be successful once they start work,” he said.

Mkhosana said with the application process now centralised and standardised, this meant the highest levels of data accuracy and efficiency were applied and there was a great demand from existing Uber driver-partners.

“Our database has over 300 000 pre-screened candidates listed. This means finding drivers is easy for us and we can recruit drivers when necessary. We provide the missing link between the driver and the partner and accelerate linking economic opportunities and small business seekers,” said Mkhosana.

He said training centre in Cape Town is currently the only one in the country and the organisation aimed to help grow the country’s existing 12 000 driver-partners.

“Partnerships between the government, the private sector and youth employment organisations such as Lulaway can drive job creation for South African and build a shared vision in which unemployment is truly eradicated,” he said.

Alon Lits, the general manager for Uber sub-Saharan Africa, said the firm was excited about this partnership as drivers are on the core of our business, and everyone deserved a fair chance to participate in South Africa’s economy.

“Through partnerships like these we know it will be made possible. Uber does not employ the partner-drivers, but through using the Uber app, it connects people who provide transportation services with others who need rides.

"The drivers who use the Uber app are totally free to choose if, when and where they accept rider requests. They are not obligated to work a required number of hours or shifts,” said Lits.

Mkhosana added that Uber played a pivotal role in job creation in a country where unemployment was a national crisis and this synergy is a perfect example of what is possible through collaborations of this kind.

“Combining the forces of Uber and Lulaway, we hope to accelerate the impact we are making. We see this as a pilot project, and the model can be taken nationally once its benefits have been quantified,” he said.

- BUSINESS REPORT