25 disadvantaged youth graduate with an NQF Level 5 in IT Systems

By Belinda Unterslak, Synthesis Events and Marketing Coordinator

On 1 April 2021 Synthesis and Afrika Tikkun Services celebrated the graduation of the 25 students who graduated with an NQF Level 5 in IT Systems Development, accredited by the Media Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA).

The learnership programme takes place over 12 months. It is designed to furnish students, who come from disadvantaged communities across Johannesburg, with advanced computing and computer systems skills.

Synthesis launched its partnership with Afrika Tikkun Services in May 2017. Over the years, together they have managed to equip over 100 learners. It was a natural progression to partner with Afrika Tikkun Services to provide learnerships to unemployed youth. Afrika Tikkun Services not only assist with sourcing the learners and setting the learners up with a training facility, but they also make sure there is a host site where they can do the practical part of their training.

The current learners commenced their programme in April 2020 during the hard lockdown with a virtual welcome from Synthesis. Over the year, the programme gradually became classroom based. During the virtual time, Afrika Tikkun Services assisted learners with getting smartphones and data to be able to connect to their classroom. Throughout the engagements, Synthesis was welcomed at the training provider to see training in real time, and it had the opportunity to visit a host site. One of the learners worked so hard that even the host site appreciated her effort and offered her a position in the company as the learnership closed. In total five learners were absorbed into employment opportunities post the learnership and ten transitioned into a further training programme designed to further strengthen their skills.

After commencing their learnership in lockdown, it was meaningful to be able to celebrate the graduation in person. Each learner was presented with certificates from Synthesis as well as Afrika Tikkun Services. The Top Learner, Sohail Dhoda, and Top Academic Learner, Sudeshni Moodley, addressed their fellow classmates with inspiring messages to take with them on their future journeys.

In a podcast held after the event Howard Feldman, Head of Marketing & People of Synthesis, Onyi Nwaneri, CEO of Afrika Tikkun Services, guest speaker Eldrid Jordaan, CEO of GovChat as well as Sohail Dhoda and Sudeshni Moodley discussed overcoming obstacles and achieving in adversity.

Demonstrating how the programme assists each person, Nwaneri explains how the programme aided a disabled graduate: “This was not just about the knowledge that he secured. The income that he earned throughout the 12 months enabled him to put food on the table for his family. He was a lifeline for them.”

Nwaneri further explains that many people they work with are the breadwinners in their families: “This is not just helping one person; it is the joining of families.”

Jordaan shared his success story with the students. He explained the power of not giving up and being able to hold hands with one another.  In the podcast he left the students with three pieces of advice:

  1. Remember every decision in life has consequences – think carefully about the decisions you make and take.
  2. Make sure you follow your purpose – we are all here for a reason and if you follow your purpose for the right reason, amazing things are going to happen.
  3. Never give up. Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do it. You are the next Marc Lubner. The next Nelson Mandela. The next Motty Sacks.

“No journey is without tremendous adversity, but this will build resilience and life skills to be able to deal with what is going to be inevitable along the way,” Feldman concludes.