As part of its support for the National Development Plan (NDP), T-Systems has created educational and employment projects targeted at South Africa’s youth through collaborative initiatives. These projects are aimed at targeting issues such as poverty and unemployment and to help establish South Africa as an internationally recognised economic force in today’s Digital Age.
“Because we are looking for a long term solution to the shortage of skills and jobs in South Africa, we made sure that our Nation Building Initiative is aligned with the NDP – with its aim of eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by 2030. We focus on empowering people and businesses through sustainable projects that promote education, skills development, job creation and entrepreneurship. We are planning ahead for the future but starting now with the foundations to build it,” explains Dino Molefe, Managing Director at T-Systems South Africa.
One of T-System’s most successful projects is the extension of its current Service Desk, currently located in Midrand, to Hazyview. This was done through the use of skills and talent developed by the Hazyview Digital Learning Centre (HDLC). The HDLC is described as an “ecosystem of learning and working,” and the Hazyview Service Desk creates job opportunities for the young graduates on campus.
The Service Desk started in 2016 with four agents and expanded to 28 agents in 2018. According to the Stats South Africa Quarterly Labor Force Survey for Q1 2019, 40.7$ of people aged between 13 and 34 were not in employment, education or training (NEET). Youth unemployment has been an increasingly critical issue in South Africa caused by a lack of education and understanding of technology, and a chronic skills shortage in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
In order to solve this prevalent issue, T-Systems established the T-Systems ICT Academy in Johannesburg in 2003. The Academy aims to address gender inequality and skills shortages in the local sector. T-Systems also donated funds being put towards the construction of the GWF’s Hazyview Digital Learning Centre in the peri-urban village of Shabalala in 2013.
The Hazyview Digital Learning Centre employs three main progressive stages of training and education, which are:
- The Open Learning Academy: Partners with rural primary schools, allowing them to outsource digital, English and Mathematics literacy to HDLC. This has been set up as a continuous programme that supports rural learners from Grade four onwards. Additional subjects include conservation, coding and robotics
- The Bridging Academy: Creates an access bridge between school and work or further educational training, preparing rural school leavers for life in modern business environments.
- Career-Training Academies: Bridging Academy graduates can apply to advanced Career-Training Academies and programmes that respond to the needs of the community in which the campus is located. The first Career-Training Academy that was set up at the HDLC was the IT Academy, followed shortly after by the Travel & Tourism Academy. This innovative training model enables each Career Training Academy to be linked to an enterprise established in partnership with an industry leader. The purpose of the enterprise is to employ graduates and fund the learning programmes, resulting in the creation of a sustainable and lasting social enterprise
To date, the HDLC provides additional digital literacy, ready-to-work skills and English to 5,000 school learners each week, done through its Open Learning Academy. Over 1,000 students have graduated from the Bridging Academy and Career-Training Academies for adults.
3.5% of the HDLC’s operations costs are currently covered by the Service Desk’s income. The Service Desk is projected to cover up to 80% of the campus’ annual budget when the Service Desk reaches its planned 200-agent capacity.
T-Systems and the Goodwork Foundation (GWF) have both received awards for the HDLC’s pioneering model and success. T-Systems has won numerous Gender Mainstreaming awards across many categories over multiple years. In 2018 T-Systems was also the recipient of the Vision 2030 Award for successfully demonstrating alignment to the government’s Nine-Point Plan, aimed at increasing economic growth and achieving the NDP’s milestones.
“We can’t underestimate the socio-economic impact this has, as well as the psychological impact, as people now have access to a world of new opportunities,” said Pierre Jansen van Rensburg, DSM Expert: Support & Enabling Service Desk at T-Systems South Africa. We are proud to partner on an innovative initiative that drives knowledge sharing and skills development in local communities that need it most – all while adding value to clients’ operations. It forms part of our goal to create sustainable projects that empower our youth and resonates with our Nation Building initiative that is tied into the NDP vision for 2030. It truly embodies our shared value of ‘in South Africa, for South Africa,” added T-Systems Managing Director Dineo Molefe.
Edited by Kojo Essah
Follow Kojo Essah on Twitter
Follow IT News Africa on Twitter