The re-launch of the Samsung Engineering Academy in Midrand is a move that will help reach hundreds of students beyond its initial focus in Ekurhuleni.

The addition of the Greater Johannesburg area will strengthen the academy and attract students to participate in it, said Gauteng MEC of Education Panyaza Lesufi.

The academy was initially established in Boksburg in 2011.

“The world is changing, the country is changing and we need to change as a province so that we can respond to areas that are giving us job opportunities," said Lesufi.

“I want to congratulate the leadership of Samsung and everyone. This is the future. We need to move away from this perception that for our children to succeed they need to go to university. When you look at growing economies, countries that are investing in skills development show progress.”

The Samsung Academy equips unemployed matriculants from low-income areas with the latest global technological skills to assist them to compete effectively in the job market.

Hlubi Shivanda, the director of Innovation Group and Corporate Affairs for Samsung South Africa, said the company aims to fast-track youth into the electronics job market.

“We're on a drive to give the youth hope for the future with viable careers in a highly desirable field. Our graduates have all entered the workplace with essential electronic engineering skills, allowing them to support themselves and make a positive impact on their families and communities,” he said.

Students are taken through an intensive technical training course followed by a month of in-service training.

Once this is completed, the young graduates are taught about client service and then deployed to Samsung Service Centres.

Lehlohonolo Ngozo, 27, from KwaThema, said the academy exposed him to a lot of opportunities.

“I was doing IT. Samsung came to our campus, looking for 10 top students. They took us to the academy, and that was in 2013. We were there for two years, 2013 and 2014.

“After finishing school I got a job at Samsung, then worked there for almost two years. I'm now at the head office doing technical support. It has been great. I'm always learning and, in terms of electronics, I've learnt a lot. I got exposed to a lot of things. I now know how to do things on my own,” he said.

The academy has the Women Technical Programme and the Boys to Men initiative, where there are two intakes every year.

Thabang Bohlolo, 24, is doing electrical infrastructure and construction and looks forward to graduating.

“I'm doing my second year and I can't wait to complete it. I've had a great experience. We learn a lot. We do home installations, we learn how to fix kettles and TVs. This academy is important because we learn about the things that are done in the industry. We get to see how the workplace is,” she said.