Like many young South Africans, Ingrid Chiloane (23) had a dream. For her, it was a career in the nursing field.
While she was enrolled as a nursing student, financial constraints forced her to drop out and she had to stop pursuing her passion.
According to data from a Stats SA report, 26.6% of South Africans were either unemployed or actively looking for work in 2016. About two-thirds of the unemployed, like Chiloane, were between the ages of 15 and 34.
To help combat the country’s high youth unemployment rate, Absa launched its ReadytoWork programme: a training initiative that helps prepare and equip young people for work.
The programme focuses on developing four major areas – people skills, money skills, work skills and entrepreneurial skills – through free online courses, face-to-face training and work exposure to increase the future employability of its participants.
While the ReadytoWork programme ultimately aims to increase the number of employment opportunities available to young people in the “world of work”, the programme also teaches young people the skills they need to start their own businesses.
“A key priority of our citizenship strategy is to help young people gain access to the skills and opportunities they need to unlock their potential,” Sazini Mojapelo, Barclays Africa head of citizenship, said in a media release.
“We have identified education and skills development as a space in which it can make a sustainable contribution through initiatives such as ReadytoWork.”
The programme’s curriculum can be tailored to suit individual interests and needs, and can be easily completed online using a computer, a tablet or mobile platforms.
After completing the course work, participants are also eligible to win a month-long internship at Absa or with one of the programme’s partner organisations.
“This will ultimately help to prepare them for the world of work,” Matshepo Majola, general manager of group marketing for the Barclays Africa Group, said in a media release.
Chiloane is a 2017 graduate of the programme and was selected for the month-long internship.
“If it wasn’t for ReadytoWork, I could have been the same Ingrid I was before,” Chiloane said.
“I was just a person with a matric certificate.”
According to Chiloane, the programme’s four learning modules helped her build her CV, giving her a renewed determination in life and opening up new opportunities.
ReadytoWork allowed her to work with the media, she said, and she became more interested in editing and graphics – skills that she had never been exposed to before the programme.
Chiloane also worked with Skinny Sbu Socks, a local start-up, where she said she learnt more about entrepreneurship and the business industry while directly working with and being mentored by the company’s founder, Sibusiso Ngwenya.
“It changed my life for the good and I’m hoping that after this programme, I will get something better and I will have something to do with my life,” Chiloane said.
Mojalefa Tsolo was similarly given the chance to pursue his dream through ReadytoWork.
Tsolo matriculated in 2012 and began working towards his qualification in sports management. Unfortunately, due to challenges at home, he had to stop and put his dream on hold.
However, Tsolo learnt about ReadytoWork in late 2016. After graduating from the programme, he became one of four individuals who won the opportunity to work at the Absa Premiership as an intern in February 2017.
During his internship, Tsolo worked in sports marketing, sponsorship and broadcasting.
“I was given this opportunity and my life changed,” Tsolo said.
“It’s going to help me a lot.”
Absa is a part of the Barclays Africa Group. The bank launched the ReadytoWork programme in South Africa in 2015, following the initiative’s success in six other African countries, including Zambia, the Seychelles, Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius and Zimbabwe.
The programme curriculum is also available in some schools across Gauteng, Limpopo and the Free State.
HOW TO GET READY TO WORK
Register for an account using Facebook, Twitter, email or a mobile number
Complete the learning material and earn a certificate in each
Update your profile and generate your CV. This will help connect you with potential mentors with similar business interests to yours
Apply for workplace exposure and internship opportunities. Check the dashboard for listings and use the free online career tool for guidance
OR TRY HARAMBEE
Harambee is a similar service that aims to connect employers and jobseekers. South Africans between the ages of 18 and 34 with a matric are eligible to apply. If an individual’s skills and assessment match one of the opportunities, Harambee
places a jobseeker in an entry-level employment position. The programme is free, but completing the application and assessment does not guarantee young South Africans a job. Visit http://harambee.co.za