Driving sustainable growth and inclusive wealth creation in South Africa requires engaging the nation’s youth in the economy through skills development that will lead to meaningful employment opportunities. In recognition of this, global analytics leader SAS has reaffirmed its ongoing commitment to investing in the nation’s young and vibrant talent.
Knowing the instrumental role that the youth play in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), SAS continues to provide innovative learnership, internship and mentorship programmes that foster an environment conducive to growth, creativity, and inclusivity.
Adesh Nathalal, Education Manager at SAS in South Africa, underscores the value of such programmes, “SAS’s aim is to empower the country’s youth by equipping them with the necessary mindset and skills to navigate and succeed in the digital era. Our internship programme provides a rich blend of hands-on experience coupled with intensive training in analytics, giving the interns an invaluable first-hand exposure to the industry.”
In addition to fostering gender equality, SAS is also deeply committed to enabling a broad spectrum of learners. This is demonstrated through its significant investment in supporting a cohort of 12 disabled learners during the 2022/23 period. Collaborating with Sparrow FET, these learners are in the process of completing an IT End User Computing NQF3 course over a period of 12 months.
The composition of this sponsored cohort represents the diversity SAS is fostering: four African males, three African females, one Indian female, one Indian male, one coloured female, and two coloured males. This initiative reaffirms SAS’s dedication to broadening the demographic representation within South Africa’s tech industry.
“SAS’s partnership with Sparrow FET is a testament to our dedication to inclusivity and diversity within the technology space,” says Nathalal. “We believe in the potential within every individual, and we are proud to sponsor this diverse group of learners.”
SAS’s learnership and internship programmes form part of its broader strategic partnerships with local universities, fostering a thriving ecosystem of educational growth and skills development. With the organisation showing its commitment to providing young talent with the practical experiences they will need for the workplace of the future, SAS is highlighting how essential it is to provide the country’s youth for the building blocks to find meaningful employability in the future job market.
Some of these collaborative initiatives include SAS’s partnership with the Centre for Business Mathematics and Informatics (BMI) at North-West University (NWU) focused on specialist risk and data science skills development. Online events hosted in collaboration with University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN) and the University of the Western Cape (UWC) aimed at Grade 11s to introduce these learners to the exciting world of analytics and data science as possible career opportunities within the field.
Additionally, last year UKZN in collaboration with SAS launched the Teachers4DataAnalytics program, a workshop programme that aims to reach hundreds of teachers and provide them with the knowledge and tools to inspire their students to pursue careers in data analytics. Involvement in the Teachers4DataAnalytics program also form part of SAS’s bigger program focused on secondary education and provides a bridge/feeder for its successful Global Academic Program in partnership with local universities. The inaugural event was held at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in August and subsequently the Teachers4DataAnalytics programme team went on a roadshow with workshops held at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the Vanderbijlpark Campus of the North-West University (NWU) before the end of the year.
SAS is also a sponsor of Tangible Africa – a partnership between Nelson Mandela University and Leva Foundation – which kicked off with the exciting annual #Coding4Mandela Day Tournament that took place on Mandela Day last month.
Andre Zitzke, Manager: Global Academic Programs in Africa for SAS, says: “By bridging the gap between academia and industry, SAS continues to foster a nurturing ecosystem that encourages young talent to explore and excel in the exciting world of data science.”
However, SAS’s investment in young talent goes beyond teaching them the technical aspects of the industry. It is about fostering ‘power skills’ such as curiosity, creativity, and communication, crucial capabilities that are in increasing demand in today‘s rapidly evolving workplace.
“For businesses to future-proof themselves while adopting 4IR technologies, they must adapt training, recruitment, and remuneration policies to recognise and leverage the importance of new skills that can infuse their organisations with greater resiliency, adaptability, and competitive advantage,” adds Nathalal.
“Through creating enabling and empowering environment where young talent can flourish, SAS is shaping the next generation of tech leaders who will steer South Africa into the promising era of 4IR and beyond, helping to solidify the country’s position on the global digital stage,” concludes Zitzke.