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Disabled students graduate from Accenture’s cadet programme

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Khethiwe Nkuna, head of Corporate Citizenship, Inclusion & Diversity for Accenture Africa, graduate Percy Maimela, and Lyn Mansour, CEO of KLM Empowered.
Khethiwe Nkuna, head of Corporate Citizenship, Inclusion & Diversity for Accenture Africa, graduate Percy Maimela, and Lyn Mansour, CEO of KLM Empowered.

Accenture’s EmployAbility Cadet Programme recently saw the first group of students graduate from its three-year programme launched in September 2016.

Accenture launched the programme in partnership with further education and training college KLM Empowered to offer skills training and create employment opportunities in ICT to 10 learners with disabilities.

According to the South African Human Rights Commission, disabled people make up less than 1% of the workforce.

The EmployAbility Cadet Programme is a spin-off of Accenture’s global Skills to Succeed initiative. After completing the theoretical training, the learners are placed in ICT organisations for practical training.

Khethiwe Nkuna, Accenture’s head of Corporate Citizenship, Inclusion and Diversity, said the programme was an effective way of attracting and retaining people with disabilities into the ICT sector.

“It also ensures that sustainable and career-focused employment is created as opposed to ad-hoc temporary work opportunities.”

The graduates received practical and theoretical training in Project Management (NQF 4), advanced National Diploma Project Management (NQF 5) and a National Certificate in Information Technology Systems Development (NQF5) over the three years.

“In 2018, we spent more than R38 million on skills development for learners with disabilities and black employees. We have produced highly skilled and motivated artisans who will now be able to participate meaningfully in the economy and uplift their communities.”

Nkuna continued, “Our investment efforts are crucial to grow the pool of future skills available to the local market and, ultimately, sustaining Accenture’s success as a high-performance business.”

Rendani Matshaya, one of the programme’s graduates who has been placed in Drive Control Corporation’s sales department, said her experience had been ‘amazing’.

“There were times I wanted to give up but we’re always being encouraged to persevere. In my customer management journey, I’ve learnt to focus on the bigger picture and most importantly, when dealing with clients, it’s important to check in on their wellbeing too, not just asking them for money when I call.”

Sibusiso Dlamini of manufacturer PG Bison also spoke at the graduation, “When we signed up as an employer for the programme, we had decided that we wanted to do recruitment differently, to bring in people who would challenge the way we’ve always done things. The kind of people who will come into our business and add value – instead of us telling them what to do, we want to hear what we’re doing wrong.”

He also encouraged the graduates to remain driven and remember that ‘readers are leaders’.

Potential candidates for the next Accenture EmployAbility Cadet Programme are invited to register for the 2020 intake by visiting http://www.accenture.com.

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