NO HOLDS BARRED: taking a fresh look at employment in South Africa today

By Sabelo Myeni, Head of Mindworx Academy

When I joined Mindworx Academy I was thrilled that I would be contributing to the employment of young people through skills development and job creation. I must admit I was not clear on the job creation aspect but i thought there would be similarities to my previous job. Little did I know that I was in for a major personal and professional transformation.

One year on, these are my most important lessons and the ones I would love all employers to learn.

  1. Understand the youth unemployment crisis

How often in your working life do you think about what happens to young people after graduation and before they enter the working world. I certainly didn’t. Oh I knew about the high levels of youth unemployment but I didn’t comprehend the magnitude of the problem. Joining a transformative company like Mindworx brought me up close to the deep crisis we find ourselves in.

Youth unemployment is now close to 56% for the 15 – 24 age group.

There are many reasons for this but I think one of them is the lack of willingness from corporates and government to support youth employability. Not enough people in positions of power fully understand the crisis we are in and how it will impact their organisations. Yes, some have a clear plan and have committed themselves to employment initiatives, but not much has been done.

Mindworx opened my eyes to an idea which now seems so obvious: the twin issues of lack of skills and unemployment amongst young people can be solved – indeed, has to be solved – by learnerships and internships.

  1. Re-thinking sourcing and assessment

It’s all good and well understanding the skills required to perform jobs of the future, but pointless unless we hire for them. The Mindworx model sources graduates from non-traditional pools to expose as many young people as possible to real job opportunities, then it assesses them for specific qualities. These include their ability to process information and learn: fluid intelligence and the ability to solve problems logically.

So far so good, but when I studied the results I saw that, contrary to my expectation, students who came from poor backgrounds did as well as those from top tier universities. What counts is not which university they attended, but their ability to learn new skills in different environments. This is the future.

Because Mindworx assesses students on potential, we are able to offer a pool of graduates from different background and universities. This means students who would have been excluded by traditional methods now suddenly have the opportunity to enter the mainstream economy.

  1. Create solutions that balance business objectives and transformation

Perhaps this has been the most challenging lesson of my Mindworx journey: helping organisations to transform while meeting their business imperatives. I knew about B-BBEE but never understood how it encouraged companies to transform.  I turned the corner when a client asked me about the benefits of using Mindworx.

Because we are a level 1 contributor, clients receive significant enhancements to their B-BBEE scorecards in staff transformation, skills development, supplier development and preferential procurement. For every R1.00 you spend with us you can claim R1.35 against your own preferential procurement score.

That’s great, right? Yes, but not nearly as great as the fact that B-BBEE enables you to contribute to youth employment.

No holds barred: frankly, dear reader, any company in South Africa today which is not part of the solution needs to re-think their future; specifically, whether they have one.

Talk to us about how we can help you get involved. Please.


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