11 May 2017: A total of 28 participants, 20 from Gauteng and 8 from Durban, have officially graduated from the Mazars Job Readiness Programme called, “Access”, an accredited youth development programme run in conjunction with Ucademy, an accredited business process outsourcing (BPO) learning institution.
The tailored programme is aimed at preparing youth for the workplace and assists them in finding employment.
The first graduation for the pilot phase of the programme took place on Monday, 8 May 2017. The programme is set to be rolled out across the country in Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town throughout 2017.
According to Anoop Ninan, Managing Partner at Mazars Gauteng, Access aims to address the socio economic issue of unemployment and lack of skills in South Africa. Nearly 50% of South Africans between the ages of 15 and 34 are unemployed and most are discouraged by the efforts to seek work. “We needed to find a way to reengage our youth and prepare them for successful transitions into the workplace.”
As part of the programme, Mazars identifies willing youth from designated groups and provides them with an extensive two-month job access training programme with professional accredited training partners and job placement support services. The programme equips participants with personal mastery, communication and basic business skills to make them ‘job-ready’ and accessible to the job market.
“There is no cost for the participants to be part of Access and all necessary supplies are provided. The course is funded by Mazars, our clients and business partners,” says Ninan.
This is our way of giving back, says Ninan. “The course has the potential to have a ripple effect: it will change an individual’s life, which will change a family’s life, which will change communities, and even the local economy.”
We started investigating this programme when some of our clients started asking if we could assist with finding employable youth, says Ninan. “We then decided to develop a programme which enables businesses to contribute to an impactful social initiative and have the opportunity to employ the youth who have been trained. In addition to this, Mazars is able to provide a solution to our clients to maximise their points for skills development, enterprise and supplier development or socio-economic development on their B-BBEE scorecard.”
Ucademy, our accredited skills development partner, facilitates the learners through the curriculum, he says. “To make sure the participants were a good fit for the programme they had to go through an interview process by the team at Ucademy. Candidates have to be marginalised youth with a matric, be unemployed and under the age of 30.”
According to Judy Robison, Director of Ucademy, the programme was successful because of the value-chain that it boasts: the attitude of the youth themselves who were so eager to learn; the trainers who were the right fit for what the role demanded; and the employers that were looking for youth with employability skills. “This coupled with Mazars, who were the drivers and innovators, and in turn their partners, who came on board as recruiters, mentors and clients, made this a huge success.”
“Following the graduation, the aim is to assist the graduates with all the necessary tools to become job ready and apply for opportunities, which can take the form of either fulltime or contract job placement, learnership qualifications, internships or further training,” says Robison.
Robison proudly notes that the learners have already started going for job interviews. “We wish them the best of luck and look forward to hearing many success stories,” she adds.
“In order to address the challenge of unemployment, we have to start at the very beginning and drive youth employability through targeted skills development and workplace experience opportunities that develop a prepared talent pool for our market. Access is the perfect vehicle to address this necessary cause and we urge other stakeholders to get involved,” concludes Ninan.
Mazars is an international, integrated and independent organisation, specialising in audit, accounting, tax and advisory services across a range of markets and sectors. In South Africa, Mazars employs over 1000 staff in 12 offices nationally. With the skills of 18 000 staff operating in 79 countries, Mazars is large enough to service international listed clients, yet small enough to assist small companies grow and prosper in their own environments. Mazars is present on five continents and represented in 26 African countries.