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IFS SA invests in skills development initiative

Read time 2min 50sec
Mohamed Cassoojee, country manager and MD of IFS SA.
Mohamed Cassoojee, country manager and MD of IFS SA.

Global enterprise software vendor IFS has committed to sponsoring learning programmes for 30 unemployed South African youth.

According to the firm, the initiative is in support of president Cyril Ramaphosa's call to the private sector to aid with creating more jobs in the country, particularly for the youth.

The company, which says it chose the 30 prospective learners through a vigorous application programme, will sponsor the group in various learnerships. These will include an NQF level one general education and training certificate, and NQF level three national certificate: business administration services learnership.

The initiative is in addition to the IFS Education Programme, which provides learnerships and resources for students pursuing a career in technology, especially female students.

Mohamed Cassoojee, country manager and managing director of IFS SA, says: "The learnership sponsorship programme is our way of helping to address South Africa's high youth unemployment rate and the current under-investment in the country's future skills base.

"Youth unemployment in SA is a crisis that affects social cohesion in our country and undermines economic growth. We are hoping to continue supporting these types of initiatives with the same YES vision."

In March, Ramaphosa launched the Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative, which will see business, government and labour collaborate to create a million work opportunities for unemployed youth over a three-year period.

Speaking on job creation, Ramaphosa said technology can be used as a powerful tool to address the skills deficit, create jobs and eradicate poverty.

"Developments in technology have changed the world. Technological advances continue to define and re-define the conditions under which humanity lives and works. Digital technologies are emerging as key enablers for social and economic development, particularly in developing countries.

"South Africa's inclusive development, our global competitiveness and the welfare of our people depend to a large measure on our ability to harness the power of information technology. Countries that take advantage of the potential of this technology can create job opportunities, grow their economies and improve the overall quality of life of their people. Information technology can break down barriers," said the president.

Tech developments, such as artificial intelligence and automation, are changing the requirements for what skills are needed to get certain jobs done.

Ernst & Young's Growth Barometer 2018 report indicates businesses are abundantly aware of the need to address the skills shortages in their workforce.

According to the research, the lack of skilled talent is viewed as a great challenge to many companies. "Turning to the youth is the proposed answer in addressing this issue. According to our research, attracting younger, digitally native talent is what is required for creating the ideal culture in their respective workplaces."

Cassoojee notes governments, big business and civil society all have roles to play in creating more future-ready education systems, including investments in digital fluency and ICT literacy skills, providing technical and vocational education as well as training.

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