Investing in South Africa’s youth through an innovative learnership programme

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Remote Metering Solutions (RMS), the largest privately-owned South African utilities management solutions provider, is a partner in the YES initiative. YES is a business-led collaboration with government, in particular the Department of Labour, established to create on-the-job training and new job opportunities for the country’s unemployed youth.

Launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in March 2018, the initiative offers 12 months qualified working experience for qualifying candidates. At the end of the 12 months, candidates receive a CV and reference letter which gives them a three times greater chance of an interview or call-back, when applying for a position in the field in which they were trained.

To qualify for RMS’s programme, a candidate must:

  • Be between 18 and 29 years old;
  • Be a South African citizen;
  • Not have previously registered on a YES learnership;
  • Not have previously worked at RMS.

“While the YES learnership is not unique to RMS, we are proud to add value to this important initiative. Our organisation provides invaluable work experience to give youth the confidence, life experiences, and an understanding of some of the practical requirements of a job. The advantages of facilitating learnerships like YES are endless,” says Anneri Morland, HR, Payroll, and Support Team Lead at RMS.

RMS joined the initiative in 2019 with 18 learners. Subsequently, it has continued its partnership each year with a commitment to hosting 18 learners annually. Generally, two to four learners are appointed in full-time positions at RMS each year following the completion of their YES internship.

Each candidate receives a smartphone from the YES programme which comes pre-loaded with the YES mobile application. During the sign-on process, the learners complete their profile and baseline company survey. The app provides work readiness modules designed to give the applicant a better understanding of themselves as individuals as well as a step-by-step guide on how to write a CV.

“In future, we see the initiative evolving to include an appropriately trained recruitment pool of potential employees. This will enable employers to select people who already have the appropriate skills developed for RMS’ specific work context. YES combines theory and relevant practical elements to empower youth with the perfect combination of skills for the future world of work,” says Morland.

At RMS, YES learners are placed in one of several teams in which they will remain for the duration of the learnership:

  • Call centre;
  • Finance;
  • HR and support;
  • Manual meter reading;
  • Meter data management;
  • Compliance;
  • Billing team.

“Having YES learners join our team is nothing short of a magical journey. We are not creating a workforce of robots. Instead, we are simply supporting the development of each person’s hidden strengths and abilities. The best part of the entire journey is witnessing the day-by-day watching each individual become their best self. I am proud of them all,” says Tajrish Pretorius, Team Leader at RMS.

Mmaphuthego Fridah Moage, employed on a YES learnership in February 2020 and who is now permanently employed at RMS as a contact centre agent, says: “Being part of YES was a great opportunity and has provided me with a way to learn and grow within RMS. I have learnt how to respond to customers’ emails, resolve customer complaints, identify and escalate issues to my supervisor, follow up with customers, and many other things. Today, I am proud to say I am a permanent employee at RMS.”

YES has been designed to create skilled candidates who:

  • Tend to work more independently, need less supervision, and possess enhanced problem-solving capabilities;
  • Are motivated and strive to add value to the companies they work for;
  • Are less likely to leave a company that takes an interest and invests in their personal and professional development.