Harambee offers unemployed youth a chance to work

2013-06-16 14:00

For six years, Thabiso Seanego (25) tried to improve his maths and science marks so that he could qualify for an electrical engineering degree.

But it was not to be for the man from Vosloorus, Gauteng, who hopped from one college to the next. So he looked for a job and his big break came when a friend told him about the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator early last year.

Harambee is an initiative by Yellowwoods, the holding company of investor businesses such as Hollard, Clientèle, Telesure, Direct Axis and Nando’s.

Harambee was formed in 2010 to find disadvantaged, but employable, young people who struggle to find jobs because they don’t have the money, skills or social know-how.

With offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, Harambee has placed 2 000 candidates in full-time jobs and hopes to have placed 10 000 by next year.

Seanago simply sent a text message to Harambee’s call centre to apply. Other methods jobseekers can use are email, Mxit or applying directly on Harambee’s website.

“I texted my details to them and I was sent through a selection and interview process. They looked at my profile and said I would fit working at a call centre or at a Nando’s restaurant,” said Seanago.

“After getting through the interview, I was put into a bridging programme while my performance was assessed. Three months later, I was called to an interview at Clientèle Life and the rest is history.”

Seanego now works as a telemarketer at Clientèle Life in Sandton.

Harambee’s spokesperson, Jeniffer Kann, said no process guaranteed applicants a job but Harambee’s responsibility was to facilitate opportunities and links with businesses for young jobseekers. The service is free.

“It is up to each individual to make the most of the opportunities we provide and get their first job,” said Kann.

Requirements include holding South African citizenship, being aged between 18 and 28 and having no criminal or bad credit record.

Applicants must also have matriculated from a rural or township school, and be jobless or not permanently employed for more than 12 months.

Applicants should also have been actively looking for a job for more than six months to qualify for the programme.

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