Better jobs mean better futures

A group of students supported by the Harambee youth employment accelerator

About Harambee

Staggeringly, two-thirds of SA’s youths are unemployed. Helping to turn this around is an urgent priority for all of us.

That’s why we co-founded and partnered with Harambee, a Youth Employment Accelerator that helps our country’s hope-filled matriculants, from disadvantaged areas, find proper jobs. We believe it’s our shared obligation to seek solutions that help our youth, create and secure better futures.

The Harambee idea is simple. Stats show that if a young person can get a foot in the door and keep their first job for at least 12 months, they have an 85% chance of being employed for the rest of their lives. So, Harambee helps open up work opportunities for matriculants by matching their competencies to jobs with corporates, small businesses or micro-enterprises. Along the way they get useful, job-specific training and mentoring that ensures the jobs they get, stay theirs.

To date, Harambee’s helped place more than 50,000 young people with over 200 top companies. It’s solving a real issue in our society and it’s providing businesses, like ours, with some shining stars. 

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More about Harambee

At Hollard, we see youth employment as an urgent priority and believe that business and government must work together to seek solutions that can benefit every young South African who dreams of living an independent and fulfilled life.

The idea for Harambee (which means “all pull together” in Swahili) came from research conducted by the Development Bank of South Africa that shows if a young South African can get a foot in the door and keep their first job for at least 12 months, they have an 85% chance of being employed for the rest of their lives.

So, with several other corporate partners, we co-founded this youth employment accelerator, back in 2011, to help open up work opportunities for matriculants in a new and different way. A grant from the government’s Jobs Fund since then is a powerful endorsement that we’re making a meaningful difference.

Using channels existing networks typically don’t reach, Harambee recruits school-leavers and graduates, assesses their competencies and matches them to jobs with a corporate, small business or micro-enterprise, depending on where they are most likely to succeed.

But, more than simply linking job seekers with employers, the idea is to prepare them for their entry to the workplace by providing them with job-specific training and mentoring.

It’s all about setting them up for success, by ensuring they are clear on their potential employers’ expectations and equipped with the relevant skills to meet them, a strategy that ensures the young employee is ready to hit the ground running and also relieves the employer of any worries that their new hire may not be work-ready.

Harambee’s bridging programme includes universal lessons, such as understanding the importance of punctuality (a key lesson!) and customer service and, depending on the skillset a specific job requires, it also includes training in anything from computer literacy or operating machinery to sales techniques.

So far, Harambee has trained, mentored and placed over 20,000 young people with over 200 of South Africa's top companies (several of which Hollard helped recruit) and, going forward, that’s a number they hope to hit every year.  Their target is to add half a million young job-seekers to South Africa’s workforce by 2020.

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