The DigiLink incubator programmed launches with an aim of upskilling unemployed youth, enabling them to enter the tech economy and secure long-term employment.
Cape Town-Not-for-profit social enterprise Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator has partnered with SiMODisA and South African tech startup Clickatell to launch DigiLink, a programme that provides participants with access to 12 months of on-the-job training in a stimulated work environment that provides mentoring and training to fulfil available entry-level jobs.
The partnership is backed by an industry-level coalition focused on the mutual interests of all players to increase total investment, translate this into concrete jobs, and fill them with skilled workers.
Over two-thirds of young South Africans are not employed or trained within 12 months of exiting the schooling system. Seventy-five percent of them have no work experience. According to reports, the ICT sector currently has 66 000 jobs available. Entry-level employees are needed most, with 60% of the available jobs in the sector set aside for first-time workers. The current skills shortage means these roles are often outsourced.Digilink is looking to bridge the gap by providing necessary skills and experience.
Evan Jones, group strategy director of Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, says the initiative is an excellent example of early-stage industry-level coordination in which a sector organizes itself into an engine of inclusive growth.
“Intra-sector partnerships have proven successful for both job and economic growth in other sectors. I’m encouraged that the digital sector is beginning to coordinate itself in the same way,” said Evan Jones, group strategy director of Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator.
“DigiLink candidates are currently fulfilling some of Clickatell’s QA activities which we used to do in the US and Canada, proving that not only can young South Africans do the work if mentored and supervised appropriately, but also that we can re-shore this kind of work and associated revenue,” said Pieter de Villiers, chairman of SiMODiSA and co-founder of Clickatell.