The telecommunications group Telkom has partnered with business-driven initiative Youth Employment Service (YES) to provide 499 South African youth access to job opportunities, learn future-fit skills in the ever-growing information and communications technology (ICT) sector and contribute to their communities.
Telkom, recognising the key role the South African ICT sector plays in contributing to social and economic development, aims to, through the partnership, increase job opportunities for youth and inject critical skills into the economy that will enable innovation and a digital future in a country with a youth unemployment rate of 66.5%, said Telkom chief human resources officer Melody Lekota.
The South African ICT sector is already one of the biggest employers in the country, particularly the telecommunications sub-sector, and according to Statistics South Africa, contributes 2.7%, or R93-billion, of the country’s gross domestic product.
“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.”
Telkom has opted to place youth externally through the YES turnkey solution as a way to capacitate nongovernmental organisations working in the digital space all over South Africa.
The solution enables companies to sponsor the placement of unemployed youth for 12 months in vetted implementation partners.
“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,” said Lekota.
Telkom’s job creation footprint through the programme is prevalent in Gauteng, the Western Cape, the 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, cybersecurity agents, digital artisans, content creators and software developers, which offers them a year of work and upskilling while earning a salary, CV and reference letters.
The five implementation partners hosting the Telkom youth are the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative; the National Financial Literacy Association; Reconstructed Living Lab; Youth Content Collective; and Youth@Work.
“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,” concluded YES CEO Ravi Naidoo.