Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator this week reached the historic milestone of having completed one million assessments to match first-time work seekers to entry-level economic opportunities, creating one of the country’s largest data sets on understanding how to successfully place unemployed young people into jobs.
Two significant findings have emerged from Harambee’s experience and research since its inception 5 years ago. The first insight is the power of scientific matching to improve the prospect of success for both young work-seekers as well as their future employers. Harambee does this through a comprehensive battery of assessments that includes traditional measurements of numeracy and literacy, as well as a young person’s learning potential, workplace behavioural attributes, conversational ability and even hearing, spatial and mechanical abilities, depending on the type of job they are being assessed for. Each person’s scientific match also includes precise geographic and demographic analysis, as well as interactions with trained psychologists. Through its large-scale national operations, Harambee has delivered its assessment battery to over 200,000 excluded youth, at an average of 5 assessments per individual.
“By first investing in the right match, we have seen higher rates of success in training, placement and retention on the job. Most programmes in the private, public and social sectors spend billions on training without understanding the need to first match individuals and ensure the best person, not the first person, is selected for further investment,” says Rob Urquhart, Harambee’s knowledge and learning executive.
Perhaps even more powerful is Harambee’s research supporting inclusion of first-time job seekers based on their future potential rather than their past performance in school. Its assessment data shows that many young people with very low numeracy scores nonetheless have high cognitive ability and could learn quickly to succeed in on the job.
“Harambee’s assessment battery was designed for inclusion. Poor schooling in South Africa means that bright young people are being excluded for failing employer numeracy tests when in fact other proxies can show their ability to perform and succeed in the job. We are building a strong evidence base to show the market that trusted signals beyond school-based numeracy can be used to open employment pathways to a new pool of talent who can do the job,” says Harambee executive Siven Maslamoney.
Harambee has successfully placed over 25,000 young people with 250 South African businesses across 10 economic sectors. Learn more at www.harambee.co.za.