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Hitachi Vantara South Africa, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi, is helping to build a brighter future for today’s youth through the Youth Employment Service (YES) Programme, a joint initiative by private sector and government.

Recently declared a national crisis by President Cyril Ramaphosa, youth unemployment in South Africa has reached an all-time high, a staggering 56.4%. “Unemployment is a critical issue in South Africa. The YES Programme is a government initiative aimed at addressing the employability of youth,” says Charmaine Naicker, Hitachi Vantara’s Senior HR Business Partner for EMEA Emerging Markets.

Fighting current levels of unemployment, South Africa is looking to build a pipeline of future talent that can actively take part in the digital era, particularly within the technology sector.

Keith Kenneth, Hitachi Vantara’s Sales Director and General Manager for South Africa explains: “We would like to play a purposeful role and contribute to government’s evolution in digital skills, ultimately transforming the workplace.”

Through the YES Programme, Hitachi Vantara is committed to making a meaningful difference by helping the youth from a skills and capacity perspective. 

Moving away from traditional skills and jobs, Hitachi Vantara will be focusing on advancing skills that are relevant today, such as cloud computing, advanced analytics, IoT, robotic process automation, blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and data science. “We are shifting the balance from traditional to futureproof skillsets, looking to young individuals with open minds where these new ideas can be implanted,” explains Naicker.

Kenneth explains: “We look at how we can practically transfer those skills and develop young people using new technology skillsets that are relevant to emerging trends in the industry”

The YES Programme will run for a year and will see 30 individuals integrated into the business. “While working in global teams, we are going to expose them to a world-class organisation and culture,” adds Naicker.

This is not the first social initiative undertaken by Hitachi Vantara. Over the years the company has run various learnerships, including internships and bursary programmes, culminating in the company’s association with the YES Programme.

One such example is Lerato Dire, Hitachi Vantara’s Education Services Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa. After successfully completing her internship in 2016 she was appointed as the Learning and Development Administrator for the Hitachi Vantara Academy in Johannesburg. Proving her worth, Dire was promoted to Manager of the academy last year, overseeing learning and development across Sub-Saharan Africa. Dire comments: “The internship helped me establish my career, providing me with a solid foundation. Through the programme, I was given the experience no textbook could have taught me.”

“Through the YES Programme, Hitachi Vantara remains committed to supporting young people to develop and use their technological knowledge and skills as an advantage to thrive in this era of the digital revolution”, concludes Kenneth.