SOME 499 young South Africans will get a critical opportunity to break into the workforce, learn future-fit skills in the ever-growing Information and Communications Technology (ITC) sector and contribute to their communities through Telkom’s first YES programme.
Telkom said it recognised the key role the South African ICT sector played in contributing to South Africa’s social and economic development and decided to partner with the Youth Employment Service (YES).
Melody Lekota, the chief human resources officer at mobile operator Telkom, said this week that youth unemployment in South Africa is at 66.5 percent.
“Through Telkom’s partnership with YES, we are increasing job opportunities for youth, and injecting critical skills into our economy that will enable innovation, and a digital future. Telkom is committed to addressing inequalities and the socio-development challenges of our country. The partnership with YES is critical to supporting community-led programmes and advancing their impact,” Lekota said.
This as one of the lasting legacies of the Covid-19 pandemic was that the world has become more reliant on the communications industry as cellphones and the internet became crucial tools for communication, business, and life during the lockdowns.
Telkom said its job creation footprint through the programme was in place in Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. The youth were placed with YES implementation partners operating in positions that offered in-demand skills such as data capturers, cyber security agents, digital artisans, content creators and software developers.
This offered them a year of work and upskilling while earning a salary.
Telkom has opted to place youth externally through the YES turnkey solution as a way to capacitate NGOs working in the digital space all over South Africa.
The turnkey solution allowed companies to sponsor the placement of unemployed youth for 12 months in vetted implementation partners (generally NGOs or SMMEs working in high-impact sectors). With the youth placed within their own communities, they did not have to travel far for work, and would rather contribute to building their home towns’ economies.
The five implementation partners hosting the Telkom youth were the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative which is South Africa’s oldest tech incubator that promotes the inclusive growth of the digital economy, the National Financial Literacy Association, which provides consumer financial education using various platforms and the Reconstructed Living Lab, a non-profit which provides empowerment through hope, technology, innovation, training and economic opportunities.
The others are the Youth Content Collective (YCC), where talented black content creators are connected with business and the [email protected], where unemployed young people are given work experiences in non-traditional work sites.
Telkom said the CV and the reference letter youth received at the end of the 12-month programme were vital to building employability. Research showed that experience reflected on a CV significantly increases the chance of a job interview. The YES-Telkom partnership increased chances of employability, but also chances of entrepreneurship.
YES chief executive Ravi Naidoo said the ICT sector desperately needed more skilled workers.
“Telkom’s partnership with YES will contribute to building an equipped workforce in South Africa, and indeed the rest of Africa, that will have the right skills to deal with the growing ICT demands of the world,” Naidoo said.
South Africa is a leading hub on the African continent for growth in the ICT sector. This sector was already one of the biggest employers in South Africa, and according to Statistics SA, contributed 2.7 percent (or R93 billion) of the country’s gross domestic product. The telecommunications sub-sector remained the biggest employer in the ICT field.
According to the 2022 State of the ICT Sector in SA report, released by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa in March, South Africa’s ICT sector continues to demonstrate signs of growth, recording R243.6 billion in revenue in 2021, up from R243bn in 2020. This represents an overall increase of 0.3 percent in total sector revenue.