Transforming lives and career prospects for disabled South African youth

SA Business School secures 208 permanent jobs in three months for disabled youth in South Africa’s BPO sector 

South Africa’s youth unemployment statistics are grim at almost 70%.  They are even worse if you are young and disabled. The unemployment rate of persons with disabilities in South Africa is estimated in excess of 90%, approaching 100% in rural areas. And according to the South African National Council for the Blind, less than 2-3% of blind persons are employed with the vast majority dependent on social security grants.

The wrenching reality is that South Africans living with disabilities find themselves on the periphery of society without access to networks into traditional recruitment pipelines. Without drastic intervention, most disabled youngsters face a future of disempowerment, absent self-determination and even the horrifying prospect of lifelong unemployment.

“It’s these shocking realities that spurred SA Business School and our network of corporate businesses to embark on a focused and ambitious drive to get young disabled South Africans into focused learnership programmes, and then, most importantly absorbed into permanent employment through impact sourcing,” explains Anton Visser, COO of SA Business School, part of the Alefbet Learning group of companies.

In the last quarter of 2023, SA Business School facilitated the placement of 208 disabled young South Africans into permanent jobs after completing learnerships in Contact Centre (NQF 2 and 4) as well as Business Administration (NQF 2). A host of companies in the manufacturing, engineering, financial services, food and beverage and healthcare sectors worked with SA Business School, providing the funding for fully sponsored learnerships, including the costs of training and monthly learner stipends, for disabled youth aged 18 to 27.  The learnerships were delivered and conducted by and in SA Business School’s training centre which specifically caters for the safety, security, training and support required by disabled learners and employees.

The vast majority of the 208 permanent jobs were created within SA Business School’s partner network of debt collection, sales and customer service BPO providers.


“For the corporate sponsors of these learnerships, they’re able to invest in developing a skilled workforce for long-term employment, but also get to fully maximise the benefits of their BBBEE scorecard in terms of skills development. Most fundamentally, the success of this initiative in upskilling and training young disabled South Africans, and then ensuring their placement in permanent jobs and opening up their career prospects, is fundamental to shaping societal outcomes for the better,” adds Anton.


The end-goal is always permanent employment and career progression

SA Business School has enjoyed significant success and growth in its learnerships offering, notably for disabled learners, premised in the fact that the ultimate goal is about delivering a holistic, and end-to-end solution that culminates in sustainable employment for the disabled learner, and real opportunity for career progression.

And corporate South Africa is taking notice – SA Business School has grown its corporate base of employer groups sponsoring employed and unemployed learnership by over 150% in the last year.


“The key objective of learnerships is gainful employment and career progression for the learner.  It serves absolutely no purpose, and in fact only fuels misery and despondency, when young people become perpetual learners on one or other tick-box learnership programme, but do not then progress into gainful employment. Our investment into learnerships as a training provider, and for our corporate employers providing the learnerships, is about making a real tangible impact on the economy, on businesses and our society, by creating real jobs and meaningful career paths for the most vulnerable people in our communities,” adds Anton.


SA Business School’s learnership model provides a critical link that bridges the gap between social imperatives and strategic business objectives, addressing all the challenging practicalities that lie in-between. Candidates for the unemployed learnerships are impact sourced and put through a rigorous training and mentorship programme, which besides their formal learnership training, also includes workplace readiness and life skills coaching. Over the course of 12 months, learners gain valuable work experience in a formal work environment and a recognised qualification upon course completion. Additionally, learners are upskilled with the life and soft skills required to succeed in a business environment.


“South Africa has an oversupply of underutilised talent, and it has become more pressing than ever that businesses provide pathways to ensure that our disabled people have access to formal employment and decent work.  By harnessing the power of learnerships and impact sourcing, we’re able to make a fundamental, long-term difference in our most vulnerable communities, and businesses get to bring together the best of economics, quality workforces through diversity and inclusion, and socially responsible supply chains.


For more information go to

Scroll to Top