More than 400 youngsters are getting will get the opportunity to break into the work force and learn future-fit skills in the growing ICT sector, thanks to a partnership between the Youth Employment Service (YES) and Telkom.
One of the lasting legacies of the Covid-19 pandemic is a world more reliant on the communications industry than ever before. Cellphones and the internet have become crucial tools for communication, business, and life during the lockdowns.
South Africa is a leading hub on the African continent for growth in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector. This sector is already one of the biggest employers in South Africa, and according to Stats SA, contributes 2.7% (or R93 billion) of the country’s GDP. The telecommunications sub-sector remains the biggest employer in the ICT field.
Telkom is a major player in the South African ICT field and has recognised the key role this sector plays in contributing to South Africa’s social and economic development, which is why the industry leader YES.
Telkom Chief Human Resources Officer, Melody Lekota, said youth unemployment in South Africa is currently at 66,5%.
“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,” Lekota said.
She added that Telkom is committed to addressing inequalities and the socio-development challenges of the country.
“The partnership with YES is critical to supporting community-led programmes and advancing their impact,” she said.
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 allows companies to sponsor the placement of unemployed youth for 12 months in vetted implementation partners (generally NGOs or SMMEs working in high-impact sectors). Because youth are placed within their own communities, they do not have to travel far for work, and can rather contribute to building their hometowns’ economies.
Telkom’s job creation footprint through the programme is prevalent in Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. The youth were placed with YES implementation partners operating in positions that offer crucial in-demand skills such as data capturers, cyber security agents, digital artisans, content creators and software developers. This offers them a year of work and upskilling while earning a salary.
The five implementation partners hosting the Telkom youth are:
The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative – South Africa’s oldest tech incubator – which promotes the inclusive growth of the digital economy.
The National Financial Literacy Association - which provides ongoing consumer financial education using various platforms.
Reconstructed Living Lab - a non-profit which provides empowerment through hope, technology, innovation, training and economic opportunities.
Youth Content Collective (YCC) - where talented black content creators are connected with business.
[email protected] - where unemployed young people are given work experiences in non-traditional worksites.
The CV and the reference letter youth receive at the end of the 12-month programme are vital to building employability. Research shows that experience reflected on a CV significantly increases the chance of a job interview.
For women, a reference letter doubles the chance of her getting the job. The YES x Telkom partnership therefore increases chances of employability but also chances of entrepreneurship.
YES CEO, Ravi Naidoo, said the ICT sector desperately needs 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,” he said.