As part of their commitment to growing skills in the ICT industry, for the past 17 years, Axiz has been providing learnership and internship opportunities to unemployed youth aspiring to make a career in the sector.

The year-long programmes allow learners and interns to achieve qualifications in key areas, including vendor-specific programmes, IT support, system development, business analysis, project management, as well as management and business administration skills.

Over the past six years, through the programmes, they have provided opportunities to 214 learners and interns. Of these, 144 are currently under the employ of Axiz (or elsewhere in the industry, mostly Axiz customers), and a further 13 are continuing with their studies, and 57 have fallen away owing to natural attrition.

Charity Setlhaku, Learning and Development Manager at Axiz, explains that part of the success of the programme is a result of integrating the learners and interns into the day-to-day operations of the company. “Our learners are part of our teams and have set performance contracts.”

Learners also attend tailored training to achieve the certifications needed for their specific roles. As a service-oriented company and part of Alviva Holdings, a JSE-listed Group, Axiz learners and interns are required to complete soft skills and compliance training covering communications, customer service and ethics and bribery training.

“The programme continues to evolve,” Setlhaku explains. “We don’t just follow the standard learnership and internship curriculum, we incorporate vendor certifications and other skillsets we have identified, as part of digital transformation. The goal is to create all-rounders.”

Real-world experience

Moesha Wee, who was part of the programme in 2017 and currently works in the Advanced Technologies division at Axiz, values the opportunities the programme provided: “From not knowing a lot about computers and the professional working environment, this learnership helped me get where I am today. Since I started, I’ve progressed within the company and with each new job came new responsibilities, experiences and challenges. This sharpened me and drove me to learn more,” he says.

This is backed up by Lesley Bvuma, who is an Internal Account Manager at Axiz and completed the programme in 2013.

“I found out about the learnership programme after completing matric, and I joined Axiz full-time after the year was over. I started as a sales administrator, but today I’m responsible for our relationships with some of our large customers. This wouldn’t have been possible without the start the programme gave me,” he comments.

An evolving programme

Setlhaku adds that the programme is vitally important to Axiz. “It’s one of the initiatives we pride ourselves on. We’ve been running it for over 10 years and, by adopting an agile approach, we’re able to improve it every year. Our managers are integral to the success of the programme as we rely on them to mentor learners and interns, expose them to future-proof technology and provide guidance on how to adapt in an ever-changing business environment.

“Areas such as digitalisation and automation are also being incorporated into the programme and we’re working with some of our larger customers to give the learners and interns the broadest possible exposure to the industry, as well as helping them obtain certifications in the latest technologies.

“Skills are always an issue in the IT industry, but through this programme, we’re able to ensure that we have access to the pool of talent we need for business success, as well as doing our part in the sector as a whole,” she concludes.