Future Proofing South Africa’s Technology Sector – Absa

South Africa has a wealth of young talent, brimming with creativity, energy, and fresh perspectives. According to recent statistics, approximately 54% of tech professionals fall under the age of 35. This demographic trend underscores the potential for innovation and growth that the country’s young talent possesses.

While young talent in the tech sector holds immense promise, they face a range of challenges such as limited access to resources. Many young individuals encounter barriers when it comes to accessing quality education, training programmes, and resources necessary for acquiring in-demand tech skills. Addressing this challenge is crucial for nurturing talent and bridging the skills gap.

Another key challenge is the evolving skill sets. Rapid advancements in technology necessitate continuous upskilling and adapting to stay relevant. Young talent often faces the challenge of keeping pace with the ever-changing tech landscape, requiring comprehensive training and development opportunities.

With its strong commitment to youth development, Absa understands that investing in the younger generation is a catalyst for development and growth. “Investing in and future-proofing young talent within the technology sector is vital for driving innovation and economic growth,” said Aneline Rhoda-Wright, People Lead in the Information and Technology Office at Absa. “By addressing challenges and collaborating across sectors, we can empower young talent to become the next generation of tech innovators, propelling our industry and country forward.”

Skills development programmes, internships, and mentorship opportunities providing young talent with hands-on experience, practical skills, and guidance from industry experts are key to ensuring that youth are employable as they enter the world of work. By bridging the gap between academia and the workplace, these initiatives empower young individuals to transition smoothly into their chosen professions. “At Absa, we recognise the power of mentorship and guidance in shaping the future of young individuals. We believe in building the future generation and the partnerships we have forged emphasise this drive through the various young talent initiatives we are sponsoring across our Technology division. Our intention is to be an active force for good and play a vital role in reducing the challenge of youth unemployment in South Africa,” adds Rhoda-Wright.

Absa collaborates with organisations to support the youth, including but not limited to The Digital Academy which aims to address a skills gap in the banking and technology industries by focusing on filling important and in-demand positions. This nine-year-old programme recruits young individuals, including learners with disabilities, who are motivated and have a natural aptitude for Software Development and trains them in the practical, hands-on development skills that employers demand.

The Absa Cybersecurity Academy is run in association with The Maharishi Institute and Hein Wagner Blind Academy and is a programme with the sole purpose of empowering marginalised South African youth to become certified cybersecurity specialists.

The Harambee Academy and UVU Africa, previously known as Cape Innovation Technology Initiative (CiTi) run various skills initiatives focused on scarce, critical and future skills – these skills include data analysis, Salesforce and Full Stack development.

The Geeks4Learning, is also one of the organisations Absa works with and runs a training academy with a mission to develop the next generation of top IT talent and develop the next generation of Salesforce Administrators and Developers.

In 2023, Absa has 572 beneficiaries in the various programmes who will one day add to the country’s workforce. “The youth are the future leaders, innovators, and drivers of economic growth. By empowering them with the right skills, knowledge, and opportunities, we are investing in a brighter future for South Africa. Through our initiatives, we aim to create an environment that encourages entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity, thereby unlocking the potential of our youth and propelling positive economic growth,” concludes Rhoda-Wright.

Absa’s commitment to fostering young talent in South Africa aligns with the country’s long-term vision of sustainable development. By nurturing the skills and capabilities of the youth, Absa is actively contributing to building a resilient and prosperous economy for all South Africans.