Menu

Harambee a ‘dating service’ that gets young South Africans into work

17th Jul 2018

Johannesburg – A few years ago, Thabo Ngwato’s job prospects looked bleak.

After graduating from high school, he started studying at the University of Johannesburg – but was forced to drop out when his mother retired and cash ran short.

For a year and a half he hung around his home in a poor township in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, playing football with friends and occasionally making job applications in town.

He got no response – not a surprise in a country with one of the world’s most persistently high youth unemployment rates.

In South Africa, a record 5.5 million young people are searching for work unsuccessfully, many living in slums far from big employers.

But one day a friend mentioned to Ngwato he had found work through Harambee, a South African “youth employment accelerator” that links talent-hungry businesses with promising poor kids.

“The best description I’ve heard is that we’re a dating service and a finishing school,” said Lebo Nke, an executive at the Johannesburg-based social enterprise, which since 2011 has helped more than 50,000 youths find work, including Ngwato.

For the past two years, the 23-year-old has worked at a Johannesburg call centre, earning enough to support his mother and nephew. He recently bought his first car to speed up his three-minibus trip to work.

“I know how to network, look for employment. The skills are ones I can take anywhere,” he said.

To read the rest of this article and to watch the related videos, please click here. 

Other Interesting Articles

SME

The art of recruitment for small businesses

9th Oct 2017

Alexandra Hadfield, Harambee SME Sector Lead, writes about the recruitment challenges that small businesses face and how A2Pay worked with Harambee to overcome theirs.

Partnering with KFC to overcome barriers to youth unemployment

1st Sep 2016

To design a bespoke KFC work-readiness bridging curriculum, a team of our people spent time in the company diagnosing what was required of supervisors.

Sisters are doing it for Barloworld Equipment

14th Aug 2017

When Barloworld Equipment decided to employ more women in typically male roles, the company knew it needed the kind of help that only an organisation like Harambee could provide.