Four months ago they were unemployed, facing a bleak and hopeless future.
But on Tuesday April 19 they – all 30 of them – were on top of the world after successfully completing a gruelling 12-week ICT skills training course provided by the Systems Applications Products (SAP) in partnership with the City of Johannesburg.
The SAP-City of Johannesburg Skills Development Programme is aimed at enhancing the skills of young, passionate and highly motivated university graduates and creating exciting employment opportunities for them. All the 30 newly qualified SAP associate consultants have already been placed in various positions in the City’s Finance and Human Resources departments.
On Tuesday at the Sci-Bono Science Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau presided over their graduation. In his address, Mayor Tau said partnerships with companies such as SAP would help the City and the country tackle youth unemployment. He said black youth in particular found it hard to access jobs, even those with university degrees.
“This is a skills revolution going through the city of Johannesburg. Such partnerships will help graduates access skills that will ensure they advance the work of the City.”
The Mayor also announced that the programme would soon be linked with Vulindlel’ Jozi, another City initiative aimed at tackling youth unemployment. He said these programmes would help the City create a network of opportunities for the youth.
Mayor Tau added that at least 250 companies had already signed up for similar partnerships.
“We’re in for the long haul. We’ll ensure that the youth acquire the skills we need to truly become a world-class African city,” Mayor Tau said.
“I’m very excited about this programme. It’s also about breaking down the inter-generational cycle of poverty and partnering with companies that want to see South Africa prosper.”
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Corporate and Shared Services Councillor Mally Mokoena, under whose portfolio the programme falls, thanked the Mayor for championing this and other programmes aimed at empowering the youth. She said by building internal capacity the City would cut costs and youth unemployment. She said the initiative was in line with the City’s Growth and Development Strategy 2040.
One of the programme’s graduates, Gopolang Mohalaka, said he had battled to find work since graduating from the University of Johannesburg.
He said he was grateful for the opportunity.
“Growing up in the Princess Crossing informal settlement was tough but my mother, a domestic worker, made sure we never went to bed hungry. She also encouraged me to work hard at school,” he said.
SAP Africa Chief Operations Officer Mehmood Khan and the City’s Group Executive: Corporate and Shared Services, Molaodi Khutsoane, praised the graduates for their passion, dedication and excellent results. The next intake, which will be a joint initiative with Vulindlel’ Jozi, will be in September. SAP Africa runs similar programmes in Kenya and Uganda.