Almost two-thirds of South African youths are unemployed. Through founding and continuing to support the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, Hollard is helping unemployed matriculants in disadvantaged areas to find sustainable employment.
We believe there is a better way to find employment for young South Africans.
Two out of every three South African youths are unemployed and our overall unemployment rate is the third highest in the world. As distressing as these statistics are, the sadder truth is that behind them sit millions of smart, energetic young people with massive potential, who have dreams and goals but nowhere to put them.
Not only do their impoverished circumstances make it difficult to seek work, because they lack the funds for things like internet access and transport, but they are often also locked out of the economy because they lack the social networks so many people rely on to get their first jobs.
At Hollard, we see youth employment as an urgent priority and believe that business and government have an obligation to 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 a number of 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 (a number 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.