The Key To A Successful ICT Career Path

Empowering youth through quality skills development is the key to South Africa’s future workplace. According to the mid-year estimates for 2019, South Africa alone has a youth population of 20.6 million, making up 35.7 per cent of the country’s total population of about 57.7 million people. As the cornerstone of a nation’s development, it is crucial to develop the youth so that they can have the right set of skills for their careers. South Africa’s youth unemployment rate is at an all-time high, and one of the debates as a contributor to this statistic is the employability of graduates, according to Horwitz, 2013 is the quality of higher education versus the quality standards required by the labour market which differs significantly.

“South Africa is facing many challenges, and one of the more concerning challenges that we face is our high youth unemployment rate; the long-lasting and devastating effects that this could have on South Africa’s future economic growth and innovation is a grave concern. Our youngsters, from all shapes and sizes of life, struggle to find employment, more so our graduates,” says Marike Fourie.

She mentioned that there are many initiatives that both the private and public sectors have embarked on to try and overcome this major challenge that we are facing as a country. Marike thinks that there are many reasons for this, from the socio-economic struggles our young people face, to the imbalance in our schooling system, to outdated curricula in our tertiary institutions.

There are economic opportunities to be unlocked in the skills training and development sector and according to McCain, 2020, it “holds the power to change South Africa’s economic trajectory by promoting the inclusion of all demographic groups.” Skills development can be taught however it is well known that there are many challenges that are hindering the youth from kick-starting their careers and they are simply struggling to find employment, they go for interviews and are unsuccessful in these interviews, and we should be concerned with the reason why?

According to Marike, who has been working with graduates for the past 6 years, there are many unemployed graduates who have been unemployed for more than a year after they have graduated from college/university, they are simply unable to find someone that would give them an opportunity due to their lack of experience, skills and knowledge as required by the industry.

Across the world, millions of youths lack the skills they need to reach their full potential. Although access to formal education is more widespread today than it has ever been, nearly 115 million youth (aged 15-24) still lack basic literacy. This is where Geeks4Learning’s mission aids in combating this problem. We are driven by a passion for youth development, providing a platform for our youngsters to upskill themselves with the latest ICT skills, and workplace skills and get the practical project exposure that they need for them to successfully kick start their careers.

Our Passion

Geeks4Learning offers a well-rounded skills development program that teaches our youth how to learn, how to break down and understand technical concepts, and apply critical thinking within a project environment. We believe that learners must be equipped and trained on relevant skills used by the respective industries, not only theoretical but also the practical application of their understanding.

Geeks4Learning is passionate about enabling South Africa’s youth by providing quality training programmes with the intention of generating employment, as we exist in a time where technology is a key driving force in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it’s imperative for the Academy to keep up with the ICT industry trends and adjust its curricula and training approaches.

Marike’s opinion is that beyond the technical skills, we need to make sure that the youngsters undergo soft skills/workplace training so that they know how to conduct themselves within the working environment, as a member, part of a team. They need to know the importance of having the right work ethic and attitude, in order to succeed.

In closing Marike mentioned that she believes that it is imperative for youth to invest in themselves, for them to research the career paths that they are interested in pursuing, they should understand the industry, and understand what is needed from them in order to succeed in the career path that they have chosen. They should know what their goals are in life, and what is required from them, in order for them to reach their goals. They should be dedicated each and every day to doing what is required in the pursuit of their dreams.

What success looks like is different for each person. Marike implores the youth to make sure that they are ready to seize each and every opportunity that presents itself to them and to make sure that it does not go to waste.

Marike believes that our youngsters should change their mindsets from one where the expectation is that “I deserve this opportunity” or “I am entitled to an opportunity,” to one where they realise that “before you can get anything in life, you first must give.” Be prepared to work even if it means you might not get compensated at first so that you can get your foot in the door and be given an opportunity.

She remembers that when she was looking for her first job, she’d applied for many positions where she was not successful in getting an interview, it was not until she took up an opportunity to start working without compensation for three months, that she was offered a permanent position as she’d proven to the organisation that she is a valuable addition to their team, by giving before being rewarded.

Let’s Summarize

In conclusion, “It takes two to tango.” As an ICT academy passionate about youth development, we will continue to strive to do our best in providing the right opportunities to our youth, and at the same time, our youth should make use of the opportunities presented to them, to build themselves and together we can build a better future for South Africa’s youth.