Vodacom empowers jobless youth with ICT skills for today’s digital economy and knowledge society
A packed to the rafters OR Tambo Protea Hotel hall was a scene of jubilation and ecstasy as dozens of Vodacom Youth Academy were conferred with their hard earned certified diplomas in Information Technology Technical Support from the Vodacom Youth Academy.
According to the Vodacom Foundation this Youth Academy was founded in 2012 with the purpose of developing ICT skills in the youth of the country who would otherwise not have the opportunity to do so.
The programme’s objective is to train unemployed youth, for free, in ICT skills and thereafter further develop them into ICT entrepreneurs able to assist with the installation of IT equipment and provide instruction in high-end computer skills to visitors of Vodacom’s Teacher Training centres and connected schools.
To date this programme has produced 1333 including the 367 youth who graduated on the day.
Speaking at a recent Gauteng graduation where 74 unemployed youth in the presence of their family and friends were conferred with diplomas in IT Technical Support, Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer: Corporate Affairs for Vodacom Group stressed that Corporates such as Vodacom do not exist in a vacuum.
“We exist in societies with high levels of inequality and abject poverty and therefore it is incumbent upon us to partner the public sector and non-government organisation and come up with innovative solutions to assist government to deal with some of the socio-economic problems, plaguing our society.
“As a purpose-led organisation that seeks to transform society through the use of ICT, this initiative forms part of the organisation’s commitment to help contribute towards the creation of skills development and job creation opportunities by exposing the youth, who would not ordinarily have had access to such skills, with training in order to help close the skills gap within the country’s ICT sector.
“We are well aware that the training is not a silver bullet for the unemployment challenge, but it provides youth with a solid foundation upon which to build both their academic future and help increase their chances of getting employment because they have skills required by the digital economy and knowledge society.”
On the sidelines Netshitenzhe also revealed also revealed to this publication the aim of this programme is to provide the youth with digital skills in support of the government national development plan.
“Equipping the youth with transferable digital skills has been proven to not only improve their employment opportunities, but will also greatly increase the labour market as a whole, productivity, innovation and stimulate economic growth.
“We are committed to doing what we can to equip the youth with ICT skills in order for them to be absorbed within the ICT sector when job opportunities do arise. Through the ICT skills training programme, we are now able to fulfil this commitment and also play an active role in the creation of job opportunities for young people at a time when our South African young people face extreme difficulties engaging with the labour market due to a stagnant economy, “ Netshitenzhe argued.
Ruben Ramotsho, one of the instructors told this reporter that such programmes changes lives of the communities.
“We manage to narrow the gaps for skills shortage in ICT.”
Nobuhle Maluleke, one of the best student who was on cloud nine told this publication she was grateful to the foundation for empowering them.
“ This qualification has opened avenues for me. I am busy studying coding in order to widen my horizons in IT.”
DID YOU KNOW?
- The graduates participated in the Youth Academy’s established programme under one of four categories including end-user computing (NQF level 3), cell phone and device repair management (NQF level 3), IT Technical Support (NQF level 4) and networking support (NQF level 5) where some of their duties consisted of providing IT technical and data capturing support to schools and municipalities in their area.