Worcester Academy: Vodacom empowers 37 unemployed youth with ICT skills

Vodacom has been celebrating the success of young South Africans across the country who have graduated with certified IT Technical Support diplomas from the mobile network operator’s Youth Academy during the months of March and April 2019.

On April 9 the Vodacom Foundation – in partnership with the Department of Basic Education, MICT SETA, Microsoft, Cisco and the Innovator Trust – awarded diplomas in Information Technology Technical Support to 37 previously unemployed youth. The graduates underwent 24 demanding months of theory, practicals and work-based placement training in A+ (entry-level computer service professional certification), N+ (mid-level certification for network technicians) and 3G connectivity.

In total, 367 youth will be graduating this year, which brings the total number of graduates from this programme to 1 333. The graduates participated in the Youth Academy’s established programme in 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). Their duties included the provision of IT technical and data-capturing support to schools and municipalities in the area.

“Through this initiative, we’re not only empowering our youth to gain the necessary skills training to integrate into ICT-related professions, we’re effectively enabling them to start their own businesses,” said Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer: Corporate Affairs for Vodacom Group. “We are ensuring that they gain access to opportunities to create sustainable businesses, such as becoming service providers within their communities. We’re proud to partner with these young graduates on their journey of development, one that will see them go on to give back to their communities, and the country.”

Additionally, for the first time since the inception of the ICT skills programme, 32 IT entrepreneurs also graduated alongside the ICT skills graduates, receiving certificates in business management and entrepreneurship. These students were selected for training towards this qualification after having completed the NQF level 4 and 5 courses in the ICT skills programme.

According to a report commissioned by Siemens, R4 trillion could potentially be added to the African economy by 2026 through the adoption of digitalisation, and South Africa was found to have the highest potential to drive such innovation. However, the skilled workforce to tap into this market was found to be lacking.

Equipping the youth with transferable digital skills has not only been proven to improve their employment opportunities, but will also greatly benefit the labour market by stimulating productivity, innovation and economic growth.