ACCENTURE BELIEVES IN THE POTENTIAL OF ALL YOUTH
The talent and potential of youth in South Africa remain mostly untapped. With the proliferation of cloud-based technology application, business needs to step up and harness this potential to facilitate real economic recovery, with Accenture being at the forefront of this strategic trajectory.
With a strong focus on funding and mentoring SMMEs and young entrepreneurs, Accenture is paving the way for their success.
Collaborating with grassroots organisations, strategic partners and enterprise development specialists, the company is strategically investing in the type of digital skills development that leads to actual jobs and empowers and enables individuals and small businesses to thrive.
These include the Langa-based NGO Quirky30, teaching coding to township youth, the women-led enterprises scaling innovative tech solutions and the trailblazing Skills to Succeed Academy that helps learners build skills and confidence to find and succeed in employment.
These initiatives are just a fraction of the combined, global-reaching efforts of Accenture, where they touch the lives of countless people across the planet. Through technology and human ingenuity, they are a force for change. In the words of Accenture in Africa CEO, Vukani Mngxati, “We are a country that has the potential to thrive and I see that potential. It just needs to be unlocked.”
First up, is Quirky30, founded by Sihle Tshabalala. He had a bright future when he matriculated at the tender age of 16, but fell trap to a life of gangsterism, which ultimately led to a lengthy stay in jail. On his release, aged 30, he realised that he had to be part of the change, and started 30Quirky, to empower youth in his hometown of Langa. Quirky30 offers a course that spans a full year of IT training, covering coding, web design and graphic design, and it is entirely free, offering first-world ICT skills to individuals who may otherwise also have turned to crime in order to survive. With a staggering 34,5% of South Africans being unemployed, of which 70% of those are aged 18-35, there’s a huge pool of untapped potential that desperately need these kinds of skills.
Accenture sees this potential, and NPOs like Quirky30 are made possible by investment and mentorship, acknowledging that the youth are the future of South Africa and that they deserve every opportunity to improve their lives and contribute to society in a tangible way. Over 12000 students have completed the course, with 90% moving into gainful employment.
Linked to this, is the Skills to Succeed Academy, which helps students determine their talents, and helps prepare them for interviews, with intuitive, interactive online modules that simulate the interview environment. By going through these modules, students gain more confidence in themselves, their abilities, and their voice, all with the aim of securing employment and ultimately tackling youth unemployment in South Africa. Accenture recognises that by providing these skills, they are also creating a talent pipeline for themselves. They continue to partner with governments, non-profits, universities and colleges to educate, train and support the incoming workforce through internship, apprenticeship and first job opportunities, including roles at Accenture.
Another focus for Accenture, is Accenture Enterprise Supplier Development which empowers young, up-and-coming SME owners, taking them through a 2-year program that works on increasing profitability, revenue and headcount, where Accenture allows these SMEs to become their own supply chain. When the next generation of young business owners is equipped with critical skills, they will be ready for the digital future. One such SME is FuseIT, a software development company headed by a powerful woman, Edith Mapisa. She wanted to impact lives, impact livelihoods, and with the guidance, investment and tapping into the collective of Accenture’s capabilities and infrastructure, has grown from a one-woman-show, to an 18-strong force in the enterprise technology arena.
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