CASE STUDY: How 70 young South Africans with disabilities changed their lives

SA Business School and the real-world effect of unemployed learnerships & impact sourcing

The Challenge

At almost 70%, South Africa’s youth unemployment statistics are heart-wrenching. However, for those who are young and disabled, the challenges are massively amplified.

South African youth living with disabilities find themselves on the periphery of society.  Their lack of access to networks puts them on the outside of traditional recruitment pipelines. Public transport costs can be high for everyone, but existing systems rarely if ever cater for the disabled. Further, physical and intellectual disabilities prevent integration into the workforce, effectively preventing disabled youth from being full members of society.

Without drastic intervention, most disabled youngsters face a future of disempowerment, absent self-determination and even the horrifying prospect of lifelong unemployment.

The Solution

SA Business School recently concluded an intervention for 70 disabled youth who were able to build their career prospects by earning a formal qualification in South Africa’s burgeoning Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. This was possible as part of a paid unemployed learnership opportunity that enabled them to learn new skills and seek permanent employment in a niche that is increasingly in demand on the world stage: BPO.

Call centres are primed to create 500 000 new jobs in the next 10 years, according to Business Process Enabling South Africa (BPESA), and South Africa’s thriving BPO sector will make impact sourcing, also known as “socially responsible sourcing”, an invaluable tool for global businesses. This sector currently leads the way in providing employment for previously disadvantaged and disabled young South Africans, many of whom are able to find meaningful, stable jobs and career development in call centres.

The Specifics

SA Business School worked with a client in the Manufacturing and Engineering sector to provide 70 fully sponsored learnerships, including the costs of training and monthly learner stipends, for disabled youth aged 18 to 27. On completion, each successful learner earned a Contact Centre NQF Level 2 qualification – and the potential for permanent employment.

Our shared objectives were clear:

  • To contribute to the upskilling of previously disadvantaged and disabled youth who were unable to complete their schooling and were therefore denied access to Further Education and Training
  • To ensure that the knowledge and skills gained through the learnership equips learners to be employable, contributing to reducing the youth unemployment rate in South Africa
  • Via impact sourcing, to absorb 50% of the learners that had shown commitment throughout the learnership into call centre roles through SA Business School’s partner network of BPO providers

The learnership was conducted in SA Business School’s state-of-the-art training call centre which specifically caters for the safety, security, training and support required by disabled learners and employees. The SETA exit moderation took place two months after completion of the learnership, so the learners could receive Certificates of Competence from the SETA.

The Outcome
In practice, every learner recruited for this learnership programme was fully committed to completing it.

Here are some of the numbers:

  • We achieved 100% learner retention and an incredible 100% competence. This means that every learner who started the learnership completed it and achieved a Contact Centre NQF Level 2 qualification – speaking volumes about the support structure, mentorship and guidance that learners find at SA Business School.
  • A total of 70% of the learners have already been absorbed into permanent employment, as part of call centres within our network of BPO partners. The remaining learners are in a significantly stronger position to secure permanent employment and will continue to enjoy access to our support and our partner networks.

The Lesson

As the corporate sponsor of the learnerships, our client was able to invest in developing a skilled workforce for long-term employment. Further, the client could fully maximise the benefits of its BBBEE scorecard in terms of skills development. Most fundamentally, the client reshaped major societal outcomes for the better.

In this way, by harnessing the power of unemployed learnerships and impact sourcing, it was possible to make a fundamental long-term difference to one of SA’s most vulnerable communities and to make life-changing doors open for people who need it most.

Contact our Business Development Executives:                                   

Chane Deneys                                                 Michelle Kuhn

074 230 9897                                                  076 110 0898           


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