Mel Muller is a recruitment manager at Ekanekt Recruitment,
JOHANNESBURG - An alarming number of graduates are struggling to enter the job market. According to Statistics SA, South Africa’s unemployment rate among people between 15 and 34 was a staggering 52.8 percent in the third quarter of 2018. 

In an attempt to tackle youth unemployment and bridge the gap between the youth and industry, a new digital platform called Trusted Interns has been launched. 

The purpose of the initiative is to uplift and transition the community and allow youngsters to gain valuable on-the-job training while being paid. Trusted Interns founder Jaryd Raizon says youth unemployment in South Africa is reaching epidemic proportions and that we all need to work together to solve this problem as a matter of urgency. He further states that one of the most significant pain points in running a business has always been talent. It’s not just about finding the right people, but keeping, growing and empowering them. 

Raizon says companies are not actively investing in the long term by hiring and educating the youth, but they are allocating their budgets towards “experienced individuals”, which is further perpetuating the unemployment problem. To contribute to solving it, Raizon launched to assist the youth in obtaining the valuable experience and training required for them to progress and contribute to society. The platform is easy to use at affordable rates to organisations, and the funds generated are reinvested into the development and roll-out of other career progression offerings such as job preparation workshops, mentorship programmes and bursary schemes for the youth. Raizon says the portal is not built to be a moneymaker, but rather to contribute to the upliftment and transformation of South Africa at scale. 

The platform allows for employers looking for paid interns to post available internships within their organisation online. First-time job seekers are able to engage with organisations and apply for entry-level opportunities by creating a comprehensive online profile and showcasing their education, skill sets and portfolio. An in-journey “instruction” message, as well as a chatbot, has been implemented to assist students during the registration process. Job-seekers can view a list of available internships, company details, salaries on offer, images of the office environment, a description of the company culture as well as the structure of the team. Raizon says the reaction to the initiative has been incredibly positive, not only from graduates and organisations but the community as a whole. 

He says with the support of the community, the right team and right tech Trusted Interns will be scalable and sustainable and, although it is still in the beta stage, beta clients are hiring through the initiative. Raizon is confident that the platform can contribute significantly to solving the issues of youth unemployment. The platform can be found at More than 15 companies are currently engaging and hiring through the portal.

Mel Muller is a recruitment manager at Ekanekt Recruitment,