In South Africa, June 16 is a day to commemorate the youth of 1976 and honour their courage and sacrifice during the Soweto Uprising. As a nation, we celebrate those who carry their legacy and principles of selflessness, determination and devotion to foster success and growth in society. This year, the Youth Month theme, The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Growing youth employment for an inclusive and transformed society, marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of liberation struggle heroine and human rights campaigner, Charlotte Mannya Maxeke. Samsung is aligned with this theme and acknowledges the power young people have to affect change in society. This is possible now, more than ever, as the world has evolved to a new era, where the youth are in the best position to respond to a rapidly changing technological landscape. This is why Samsung South Africa has been actively creating programmes for young people to show the rest of the world what is possible by creating new ways of communicating, connecting and doing business.
Samsung’s bursary and education programmes along with workplace opportunities are being enthusiastically embraced by young people. The company’s ongoing global citizenship initiative, Enabling People, is helping the future generation fulfil their true potential and work towards a brighter future for themselves and their communities. The initiatives are created and strengthened by Samsung’s passionate internal teams who make a difference by designing and expanding the programmes offered to young people across South Africa, in partnership with the government.
As part of Samsung’s R280m Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP), education has been prioritised. This has led to the creation of successful initiatives such as the University of Western Cape Future Innovation Lab and ICT Innovation Hub in Mbumbulu in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Additionally, Samsung’s multi-million-rand bursary programmes continue to support many learners across the country on their ongoing quest to one day be a valued part of the ICT sector. With massive digitalisation and automation now a reality in the workforce, they are being equipped with the skills to boost productivity across various industries and are being inspired to use software and entrepreneurial skills to create their own businesses. It’s through the support the youth receive and their own application of it that they can be a driver of change in the South African economy, creating opportunities for innovation, new products and entrepreneurship.
This is why Samsung has focused heavily on skills development over the years through various programmes. The Samsung Academy, established in 2011, was designed to equip unemployed matriculants from low income areas with the latest global technological skills to assist them to compete effectively in the job market. The vision was to fast-track youth into the electronics job market, and is aligned to the government’s Vision 2030, which encourages entrepreneurship and self-employment initiatives. Samsung has also created programmes such as the Women Technical Programme and the Boys to Men initiative. These included two intakes a year for each, and applicants needed to have a matric certificate, with maths and science on higher grade. The Boys to Men and Women Technical Programme armed students with the necessary engineering skills and graduates were given the opportunity to work within the Samsung Service Centres, to launch them into sustainable employment. Over the years, similar programmes were developed and evolved into new initiatives, all with the same goal: empowering young people to create a bright future.
“Despite the challenges, South Africa is in a position to maximise the potential of the ICT sector. Samsung is therefore fully committed to its ongoing vision to develop skilled electronics technicians and engineers by bridging the current skills gap. Our engineering academies across Africa have already seen thousands of students graduate with hands-on, practical skills at no cost, enabling them to move into jobs after they graduate. We see a future shaped by the hard work and ingenuity of young people. We believe the youth can once again seize the day,” said Hlubi Shivanda, Director: Business Innovation Group and Corporate Affairs at Samsung South Africa.