South Africa has the highest unemployment rate in the world. Even more concerning is the high unemployment amongst our youth, a situation that’s been called a ticking time bomb. Our youth should be the engine driving the nation’s economy but instead, seven out of every 10 young people will not be able to find work – regardless of whether they have a Matric or a Degree.

Liza Gresse, CEO of Ubuhle, says that to begin making an impact on youth unemployment, every business in South Africa has to give youngsters an opportunity to develop their skills and gain invaluable work experience.

“Government alone cannot fix youth unemployment. We need a co-ordinated approach between the public sector, the private sector and the education system to create real opportunities that will drive social change and impact economic growth,” says Liza. “But this may take years and our youth need jobs now. So we have made a decision to be part of the change that’s so desperately needed and that’s why we have taken on three learners from our community this year.”

Ubuhle works with some of South Africa’s largest corporates delivering Skills Development, Talent Management and B-BBEE consulting on a nationwide basis. Well known in the KZN community, Liza says that when they advertised the learnership opportunity, the company was inundated with applications.

The result is that Siphosakhe Latha, Nobuhle Ndimande and Sizophilo Myeza joined Ubuhle in March this year and they are already off to a great start. Whilst in the business, the three learners will be doing a Business Administration NQF Level 4 learnership, combining classroom training with workplace experience.

“This is not a typical HR learnership,” says Liza. “Our learners are being given the opportunity to bring their fresh ideas to the table and cut their teeth on truly important projects. All three are already showing that they are more than up to the task.”

The 12-month learnership provides the opportunity for the learners to develop new skills, apply them in a professional setting and have a direct impact on business results. Ubuhle’s goal is for the learners to complete the qualification and build the skills and work experience that will prepare them to take on a fast-paced business environment and establish a successful career in Human Resources Management.

Liza explains: “Our learners are fully supported in their progress, supervised by experienced and attentive managers so that they find their place amongst our employees and have the most enriching experience possible, all of which will benefit them in establishing sustainable careers.”

Liza believes beyond a doubt that learnerships such as those being run by the company have the potential to make the impact and transformation that is needed to change the youth unemployment trajectory.

She concludes: “Learnerships are the most powerful mechanism we have to change the prospects for our youth. It’s all about the student and equipping them with meaningful skills and experience to give them the best possible start to their careers. By ensuring their economic mobility, we can transform their future and move South Africa forward.”