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Transforming mindsets in learnerships for sustainable careers

By CG Selva Ganesh, VP, CEO South Africa at In2IT Technologies.

Johannesburg, 04 Apr 2024
CG Selva Ganesh, VP, CEO South Africa, In2IT Technologies.
CG Selva Ganesh, VP, CEO South Africa, In2IT Technologies.

There are several obstacles for trainees to overcome when they move from learnerships to steady jobs, ranging from a lack of funds to talent mismatches with available positions. Making sure graduates have the necessary abilities is crucial, especially in the fast-paced field of IT, where advancements are developing at an accelerated rate.

Mentorships are a crucial link in giving students the real-world knowledge and soft skills they need to work with clients. It takes a team effort – from educational institutions, learnership providers and government bodies – to develop a workforce that can navigate the job market of today. This necessitates a paradigm shift in which learners view learnerships as long-term professional advancement opportunities rather than just temporary experiences, bolstered by comprehensive training and mentorship programmes.

Challenges in transitioning to stable employment

Many learnership participants encounter hurdles when transitioning from their programmes to stable employment. Challenges include a lack of funding for the right programmes and a disconnect between the skills taught and the needs of the economy. Moreover, the rapid evolution of technology often renders certain skills obsolete by the time learners complete their programmes, further complicating their integration into the workforce.

Addressing these challenges necessitates a multifaceted approach. Firstly, there is a pressing need for comprehensive training programmes that are agile and responsive to the evolving demands of the IT sector. Such programmes should not only impart foundational knowledge, but also equip learners with practical, industry-relevant skills that are in high demand. Additionally, fostering strong partnerships between educational institutions and industry stakeholders can facilitate the co-creation of curricula that align with current market needs, ensuring that learners are adequately prepared for the realities of the job market.

The role of mentorship in bridging gaps

In industries like IT, junior employees often grapple with barriers such as technical complexity, communication challenges and confidence issues when working directly with clients. Mentorship programmes play a crucial role in bridging this gap by providing guidance on necessary abilities and tactics. An experienced mentor can offer insights into navigating challenges, ultimately making graduates more job-ready and facilitating their integration into the workforce.

Furthermore, mentorship programmes not only bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application, but also cultivate essential soft skills, such as effective communication and problem-solving, which are indispensable in client-facing roles within the IT industry. By fostering meaningful relationships between seasoned professionals and junior employees, mentorship programmes create a supportive environment where learners can not only acquire technical expertise, but also develop the confidence and resilience needed to excel in their roles. Through personalised guidance and real-world advice, mentors empower learners to navigate complex client interactions with poise and professionalism, thereby enhancing their overall employability and career prospects.

Corporate investment for sustainable careers

Mentorship programmes are not the only approach to ensuring successful learnerships. Corporate social investment (CSI) is paramount in empowering learnership participants for sustainable careers. Through initiatives like facilitating work placements, providing comprehensive training and offering mentorship opportunities, companies can build a talent pipeline and contribute to long-term employee retention. CSI initiatives are pivotal in driving benefits such as skills development, fostering diversity and implementing cost-effective hiring strategies. By investing in graduates and internships, companies not only fulfil their social responsibility, but also reap the rewards of a skilled and diverse workforce.

Implementing effective training programmes

If we get down to the nitty gritty, comprehensive training programmes form the foundation to equip learnership participants with the necessary skills and job readiness. These programmes should define focus areas, build awareness, boost engagement and reinforce progress. Strategies such as needs analysis, clear learning objectives and regular evaluation ensure that training programmes are effective and impactful in preparing graduates for the workforce.

Successful mentorship programmes emphasise clarity, communication and commitment. To replicate and scale these programmes, regular checks, change management practices and measuring the impact on retention are essential. By fostering a culture of mentorship, organisations can empower learnership participants to shift their mindsets towards sustainable career paths.

Society, including educational institutions, learnership providers and government entities, play a crucial role in fostering a mindset shift among participants. By promoting inclusivity, equal opportunities and emphasising long-term career growth over short-term financial gains, these stakeholders contribute to addressing the skills gap and reducing unemployment rates.

Learners need to move beyond viewing learnership programmes solely as avenues for temporary stipends, and rather embrace a mindset geared towards long-term career trajectories. While challenges persist in transitioning to stable employment, such as funding limitations and skill mismatches, a holistic approach encompassing comprehensive training, industry partnerships and mentorship programmes is instrumental in addressing these hurdles effectively. Moreover, corporate investment assists greatly in nurturing sustainable careers, with a focus on work placements, comprehensive training and mentorship opportunities. Through concerted efforts from society and government entities, including promoting inclusivity and prioritising long-term career growth, stakeholders can contribute to fostering a workforce that is resilient, adaptable and primed for success in the ever-evolving landscape of employment.


Editorial contacts

CG Selva Ganesh
In2IT Technologies
Mbali Makhubo
Evolution PR
(072) 407 9780