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IT initiative helps young professionals hone soft skills

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From left: Paul Seremu, Robert Truter and Maxine Gillwald are part of the +OneX work experience programme.
From left: Paul Seremu, Robert Truter and Maxine Gillwald are part of the +OneX work experience programme.

To address the IT skills shortage in SA, +OneX has rolled out an internship programme to upskill recent graduates and other young IT workers.

+OneX, which bills itself as a new-age solutions and systems integrator, forms part of the JSE-listed Reunert Group.

According to +OneX, it has already recruited five interns into its software, data and cloud divisions, with plans to accommodate another 10 this year.

Through the +OneX Work Experience Programme, the company aims to help interns build their technical abilities and soft skills by working alongside +OneX mentors on client projects.

The paid internship programme gives the selected interns an opportunity to work in a range of engineering, design, user experience, user interface, project management and data science roles, it notes.

In addition, they are trained in a soft skills curriculum that equips them with the interpersonal and business skills needed to navigate the work environment, with each intern paired with a more experienced ‘buddy’ who helps them grow in the company.

“The South African IT industry faces a serious skills crunch and needs to find ways to turn young, inexperienced professionals into productive developers and engineers in shorter timeframes,” says Morgan Goddard, software development executive at +OneX.

“Our Work Experience Programme is our vision for transforming young entrants in the job market into capable, productive IT professionals who are ready to flourish in the workplace.

“We believe there are two factors that make our programme unique. The first is that the developers we take on are integrated into our culture of leading without titles, where they work with a buddy to grow in the company. They have someone to guide their journey, which may culminate in the offer of a permanent position and the chance to grow with +OneX. The second is our heavy focus on helping them develop soft skills they need to thrive.”

With the country’s official national unemployment rate at 34.5%, South Africa’s youth continues to be disadvantaged in the labour market.

The unemployment rate was 63.9% for those aged 15-24 and 42.1% for those aged 25-34 in the first quarter of 2022, according to Statistics SA, higher than the national average.

Stats SA points out that participation in employment, education or training is important for youth to find employment and achieve self-sufficiency.

+OneX CEO Rob Godlonton comments: “The IT skills shortage is a serious challenge for our industry, but the scarcity of qualified mid-career professionals is more pronounced than ever. If we don’t tackle the shortfall of skills in roles such as software development, cloud architecture and security today, South Africa will fall behind the technology curve.

“The Work Experience Programme is our strategy to strengthen the skills pipeline and ensure that South Africa can compete in the digital economy in the years to come and is in line with our purpose to create opportunities to improve people’s lives.”

Intern Luthando Zaze states: “+OneX has offered me amazing opportunities to learn technical skills, such as cloud certifications, as well as to develop the soft skills everyone needs in today’s workplace.

“I’ve even had the opportunity to work with an international client, which is more than what I expected I would be doing in my first job. While the company has a good vibe with approachable people, everyone takes pride in what they do, which challenges each of us to deliver great work.”

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