South Africa’s government has emphasised its desired objective to achieve broadband rollout to all citizens by 2020 – just one facet of the broader National ICT plan, which also includes job creation and skills development.
StatsSA has put the country’s unemployment average at near 27% and operators within the managed ICT services space have confirmed a shortage of technical skill sets, particularly more specialist skills, those required at the heart of the network.
Management at Integr8, a leading provider of managed ICT services to regional, national and international markets and member of the Business Connexion Group (BCX), believes that in order to sustain a business and remain competitive within the technology services market, any sized venture has to be agile and possess skills sets.
“Ongoing development of the Human Resources and the impact of technology within this business discipline should always be at the top of the list of priorities for the CEO,” claims Robert Sussman, joint CEO at Integr8.
The company can substantiate the claim. Since its inception in March 2001, management has placed a premium on recruiting and retaining the very best minds in the business. They have emphasised not only the importance of bringing in expertise and enriching the company’s skills pool, but also implementing measures to consistently strengthen the HR component of the business.
Integr8 has secured access to 7,000 highly skilled personnel across the Business Connexion Group. Skilled employees are considered an important, strategic resource and their development impacts on the growth of any sized venture.
The Company’s internship programme is carefully structured to provide theoretic and practical knowledge and equip candidates with technical skills sets sought-after in the market.
The Internship is made possible with the support of the MICT SETA with the objective to make candidates more employable. Integr8 is helping to secure employment for these candidates in addressing issues of unemployment in the country.
Bradley Riback, Chief Financial Officer at Integr8, believes the Programme adds substantial value by creating a talent pipeline for identified technical skills gaps. “It allows new job entrants the opportunity to earn, learn and grow with a successful, high growth IT company” he says.
Fifteen candidates, all of whom have tertiary qualifications but little or no means of acquiring workplace experience, have been enrolled in the program. The group consisting of a number of black female and male candidates stand to benefit from exposure to several client sites and knowledge transfer from Integr8 experts.
“These experts serve as mentors and impart invaluable knowledge and experience to the interns. The group will spend six to eight weeks at a client and rotate to ensure maximum exposure to various work environments and the opportunity to acquire as much knowledge as possible” Sussman continues.
Executive leadership at Integr8 confirms that its internship and mentorship program has grown significantly, and has contributed meaningfully towards the Company’s B-BBEE strategy and its role in empowering previously disadvantaged people.
Lance Fanaroff, joint CEO at Integr8, acknowledges that many businesses are wary of investing heavily in interns because of the strong possibility that after equipping them with the necessary skills, they immediately seek out employment elsewhere or get poached by competitors.
“Integr8 invests in many interns. We skill them up, guide them and mentor them to become successful IT professionals within Integr8 or in the ICT industry,” Fanaroff adds.
Liza du Plessis
Liza du Plessis