line with the vision to grow Gauteng’s township economy, the Gauteng Department
of Economic Development (GDED) and Merchants South Africa have broken ground on
a Global Business Service (GBS) hub in Nasrec, which is set to provide many jobs
to the province's youth.
The GBS sector – which includes call centre operations, customer services and other data services – is poised to be a game changer for youth employment in Gauteng’s townships.
According to a report by the GBS industry body BPESA, Gauteng was responsible for 15% of GBS new hires between July to September 2022, as well as 15% of youth hires - aged 15-35 - in the same quarter.
Goitsione Motloung, the chief director for sector and industry development at GDED, said that by opening these GBS hubs in townships, they wanted to make work more accessible for young people who often have to travel to call centres in far-off locations for work.
"We wanted to bring opportunities closer to them and ensure we improve connectivity," Motloung said.
In September 2022, the first GBS hub was launched in Jabulani, Soweto - and already employs 200 young people.
Gauteng Economic Development MEC, Tasneem Motara, believes that these GBS hubs will help entice more international business into the country and add hope despite the many challenges currently faced by local businesses.
"GBS hubs are important to us because we want to market South Africa and Gauteng as a business processing service destination of choice, in particular for call centres. This initiative shows that companies still have confidence in doing business in Gauteng," she said.
Motara also believes that since South African English is perceived as preferable and 'easy on the ear' for international businesses, there is great opportunity in the GBS sector.
The Gauteng Department of Economic Development has partnered with international operator Merchants and the Johannesburg Expo Centre to renovate an old boxing arena at the Nasrec location and transform it into a GBS hub that will include a modern call centre. Part of the agreement signed by the parties specifies that there is an opportunity to introduce other economic sectors at Nasrec.
Motloung said that the call centre will seat between 200 – 250 people and is expected to be completed by December 2023.
Working from home and how to join
The GDED is also partnering with the telecommunications sector to expand GBS’s offering to include work-from-home capabilities.
"We have partnered with the telecommunications sector to ensure the rollout of fibre, broadband and connectivity within certain areas to create cloud zones. These areas were assessed on whether there are young people living there and what skillset they have," Motloung said.
The recruitment process will be run by Merchants, with the Gauteng government subsiding training for successful applicants.
Motloung said that the training would be between 3 - 6 months and would be offered to successful candidates who meet the criteria, like having a matric certificate.
This post was sponsored by the Gauteng Government and produced by Adspace Studio.