Harambee gives youth hope

2016-09-06 06:00

After his father, the family breadwinner, passed away, Khumbuzile Ndude had no way of completing his studies. Then a flyer in a community hall opened up a new world of opportunity.

Now, thanks to an innovative partnership between business and civil society, the Westlake resident has a job at a financial services company, is able to provide for himself and his daughter and is a step closer to realising his dream of running his own company.

“I had really high hopes when I left school and wanted to achieve all my goals by the age of 25,” explains Ndude.

After matriculating he began studying towards a qualification in sports management at Rosebank College. Later that year his father passed away and there was no way for him to continue paying for his studies.

He was volunteering as a gym instructor at the local community hall, when he saw the flyer that would change his life. It was for Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, an organisation that has given thousands of first-time job-seekers valuable workplace experience, significantly improving their career prospects.

“Harambee bridges the gap for thousands of candidates who matriculate or graduate with tertiary qualifications each year, but who aren’t ready for the workplace,” explains Maryana Iskander, Harambee’s CEO.

It’s a free service, which assesses applicants for potential, teaches them about employer’s minimum expectations, such as punctuality and presentation and then bridges the skills gap for specific careers by providing work-readiness skills.

This is where Harambee’s partnership with financial services company, DirectAxis, bore fruit for Ndude and nearly 500 other young people in similar circumstances. “In financial services we require a particular skill set, including good numeracy and literacy skills and financial knowledge. Harambee ensures that the candidates it provides to us meet these basic requirements,” says Rashida Sader, head of HR at DirectAxis.

“It’s a shining example of successful co-operation between business and civil society,” says Sader.

Ndude says: “The Harambee programme gave me an understanding of the world of work, self-awareness and the confidence I needed to land the interview and get the job,” .

It has also prompted him to consider his future. “My short-term ambition is to become a team leader at and my five-year plan is to be a business unit leader. Ultimately I want to open my own construction company and the skills and experience I’m getting now will be invaluable when I do that.”

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