Twenty unemployed graduates from diverse backgrounds are the beneficiaries of a three-year intensive skills development graduate programme offered by Micro Focus SA in collaboration with Axiz.

At last week’s official launch of the graduate programme in Midrand, the two organisations introduced 10 of the beneficiaries. Not only will the graduates be upskilled, they’ll also receive assistance in obtaining permanent employment in the IT field.

At the forefront of the graduate programme is Allyson Towle, Country Marketing Manager and SMME Partner Manager at Micro Focus South Africa. Towle says 10 of the graduates have already commenced with the programme, while the remaining 10 – five of whom will come from KwaZulu-Natal and the other five from Limpopo – will kick off their three-year journey in January.

By the end of 2023, they will have completed a SETA-accredited System Support NQF Level 5 certification course as well as having received additional general business-related training in areas that include: Introduction to 4IR/digital disruption, ITIL, project management, personal branding and work readiness. Phase two of the programme is focused on all relevant and related Micro Focus technology certifications, while in phase three, advanced learning programmes will be offered, such as sales and other business skills.

Each of these learners will be placed at no cost into Micro Focus’ SMME (Small, Medium, Micro Enterprise) channel landscape.

Towle says: “Three of the current tranche of graduates are based at Axiz and the rest have been placed with Micro Focus SMME Programme partners, including BoaTech, Lubanzi ICT Consulting, Onyx Management Solutions, Matlala IT, Meniko, Vic-IT Consulting and xTelekom.”

Job descriptions and requirements have been prepared for each learner at each of these organisations.

“On completion of the certification course they will continue their on-the-job training with the various mentioned entities and should have sufficient experience and skills to support their job-hunting efforts or even consider starting up their own business”

Emile Burger, Managing Director at Micro Focus (SA), says this has been a collaborative effort.

“As partners, our intention is to meaningfully change the lives of these young and ambitious individuals for the better. Micro Focus SA has always invested in the development of young people and our partnership intends to build on that ethos, ensuring their skills development, permanent placement in the workplace and overall success.”

Craig Brunsden, Chief Executive Officer at Axiz, says graduate programmes are often criticised because they are generally viewed as an obligation rather than a tool to empower others.

“We collaborated on this forward-thinking initiative, not out of obligation but to invest our collective resources, truly and earnestly, for the purposes of developing the skills of these deserving graduates to enable them to access the corporate market with the right skills and attitude,” says Brunsden.

He adds: “We want to make sure our learners are fully equipped with the necessary skills to actively participate in the economy and that they can produce quality work for their respective employers.”

The graduates will be paid a stipend for the duration of the 36 months and supplied with the necessary hardware, software, WiFi and data to do the job required of them.

Bokamoso Boroko, a former graduate of the pilot programme, says her life has taken a positive turn since she completed her training.

“I am a fully fledged Technical Support Engineer with SITA today because of the training I received. I amassed plenty knowledge and experience from observing others and doing what I needed to do to achieve my goals. I would like to not only congratulate the new crop of students, but to urge them to grab this opportunity with both hands.”

Advocate Thulani Mtshwene, HOD for the SITA Centre of Excellence, congratulated the graduates and thanked Micro Focus and Axiz for not only fulfilling their obligations to the state, but also for enhancing the skills of the country’s youth.