Unemployed IT grads thrown a lifeline

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She was one of 20 people who‚ on Wednesday‚ were selected for a learnership programme and job opportunity in the field of information technology.

In2IT‚ the Nedbank Foundation and Moving Ahead Development Agency launched a new learnership programme in Durban for graduates from rural KwaZulu-Natal. The project is aimed at providing technology graduates from rural and semi-rural areas with an opportunity to gain additional theoretical and practical skills.

Twenty young people will begin an 11-month programme at In2IT in Johannesburg from Monday.

Dlamini‚ of Gamalakhe township near Port Shepstone on the KZN south coast‚ said she completed a course in Information Technology majoring in software development at Mangosuthu University of Technology‚ but has not been able to secure a job.

“I want to use this opportunity to gain practical skills to be employed permanently. I want to start something in KwaZulu-Natal to encourage innovative solutions and technological advances in the medical industry‚” she said.

Dlamini said she was extremely grateful to have the opportunity.

“As the eldest in the family the pressure is on me to help the family out financially. My mother raised my three siblings and I on money she earned from odd jobs as a domestic worker‚” said Dlamini.

Muhammad Shiraz Khan‚ 24‚ of Morningside‚ said it was not easy to get a job despite being a graduate.

“It is tough out there. I will give 110% to ensure it is a great success‚” said Khan.

Saurabh Kumar‚ managing director of In2IT Technologies South Africa‚ said prospective candidates had to undergo a psychometric analysis where they looked at their attitude‚ aptitude‚ learning ability and analytical skills.

“Life around us is changing at a much rapid pace. Five years from now‚ and in some countries it is already happening‚ you will find 3D printing cafés around South Africa where you will be able to download food and clothing. The costs of these things are expensive but as time goes by and technology advances these things are going to happen.

“We already have a learnership programme where we have had 65 graduates who went through training and 100% have been employed. We decided to expand to rural areas in the country‚” said Kumar.

He said during their 11 month programme‚ the graduates will spend the first three months in classroom-based training in the basics of information technology and systems. The remaining eight months would be a mix of practical and theory.

“For us it’s a start. By 2020 millions of jobs will be lost because of automation. Life is all about learning as we go through the industrial revolution‚” he said.

Lindiwe Temba‚ head of Nedbank Foundation‚ said the group are embarking on an exciting journey to shape the lives of young South Africans.

“As a society we all have a role to play in upskilling young South Africans. The reality we are faced with is artificial intelligence and robotics. These are the things that continue to accelerate. Research shows that by 2019 35% of leading organisations will be exploring using robotics in terms of automating their operations‚” said Temba.

Sihle Zikalala‚ MEC for economic development‚ tourism and environmental affairs‚ said it was a remarkable milestone that the three organisations have pulled their resources to assist young people to attain not just practical but required industry skills in a fast growing and lucrative information and technology sector.

“The fourth industrial revolution is upon us‚ whether we like it or not it is there. We have moved from doing things manually to an electronic approach. ICT emerged initially as a support instrument for other economic sectors. ICT today is an industry on its own‚ contributing six percent in the global economy and also six percent in the GDP. That tells you how much information technology is impacting in the economy of this country. As a country if we want to be competitive we cannot leave this sector and think we will remain manual‚” said Zikalala.

He said in South Africa there were more than 600‚000 graduates who are unemployed with KwaZulu-Natal having more than 18‚000.

“ICT will provide opportunity not only for today but for decades to come. Today economies of the world are growing because of ICT. In KwaZulu-Natal we are starting to focus on rolling out broadband and ensure that all government facilities have access to information technology. Especially we want to ensure that people in rural areas will have access to ICT and be able to engage via email and conduct research‚” said Zikalala.

Tshepo Mokoena‚ chairman of Moving Ahead Development Agency (MADA)‚ said the world is going to be run by technology and stressed upon the graduates to not lose focus.

TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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