Driving sustainable growth and inclusive wealth creation in South Africa requires a concerted effort to engage the nation’s youth in the economy through skills development, leading to meaningful employment opportunities. Recognizing the instrumental role that the youth play in the Fourth Industrial Revolution [4IR], global analytics leader SAS reaffirms its ongoing commitment to invest in the nation’s young and vibrant talent. SAS understands that by providing innovative learnership, internship, and mentorship programs, it can foster an environment conducive to growth, creativity, and inclusivity.
Adesh Nathalal, Education Manager at SAS in South Africa, highlights the value of these programs, stating, “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 program offers a rich blend of hands-on experience and intensive training in analytics, providing interns with invaluable first-hand exposure to the industry.”
Beyond fostering gender equality, SAS is deeply committed to enabling a broad spectrum of learners. This commitment is evident in its significant investment in supporting a cohort of 12 disabled learners during the 2022/23 period. Collaborating with Sparrow FET, SAS is helping these learners complete an IT End User Computing NQF3 course over 12 months.
This sponsored cohort represents the diversity SAS aims to foster, comprising 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.
Adesh Nathalal emphasizes, “SAS’s partnership with Sparrow FET is a testament to our dedication to inclusivity and diversity within the technology space. We believe in the potential within every individual, and we are proud to sponsor this diverse group of learners.”
SAS’s learnership and internship programs form part of its broader strategic partnerships with local universities, fostering a thriving ecosystem of educational growth and skills development. By providing young talent with practical experiences for the workplace of the future, SAS highlights the importance of equipping the country’s youth with the building blocks for meaningful employability in the future job market.
Collaborative initiatives include SAS’s partnership with the Centre for Business Mathematics and Informatics [BMI] at North-West University [NWU], focusing on specialist risk and data science skills development. Additionally, online events in collaboration with the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal [UKZN] and the University of the Western Cape [UWC] introduce Grade 11 learners to the exciting world of analytics and data science as potential career opportunities.
SAS is also actively involved in the Teachers4DataAnalytics program, launched in collaboration with UKZN, aiming to inspire hundreds of teachers and equip them with knowledge and tools to encourage students to pursue careers in data analytics. This program plays a crucial role in SAS’s focus on secondary education and serves as a bridge to its successful Global Academic Program in partnership with local universities.
Moreover, SAS sponsors Tangible Africa, a partnership between Nelson Mandela University and Leva Foundation, including the exciting annual #Coding4Mandela Day Tournament, which fosters technological growth and skills development.
Andre Zitzke, Manager: Global Academic Programs in Africa for SAS, states, “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 extends beyond technical aspects of the industry. It aims to foster ‘power skills’ such as curiosity, creativity, and communication, which are increasingly in 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 recognize and leverage the importance of new skills that can infuse their organizations with greater resiliency, adaptability, and competitive advantage,” adds Nathalal.
Through creating an 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, solidifying the country’s position on the global digital stage,” concludes Zitzke.