The programme is open to matriculants and degreed people between the ages of 18 and 34 who are not currently studying. Picture: SUPPLIED
The programme is open to matriculants and degreed people between the ages of 18 and 34 who are not currently studying. Picture: SUPPLIED

Motor financier WesBank recently welcomed the second intake of 130 students and graduates into its FirstJob programme, an initiative of the FirstRand Group created in response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call to build bridges for unemployed youth into the world of work.

At the launch of the YES campaign in March 2018, Ramaphosa noted that just one year of work experience, coupled with a CV and an employment letter, increases a young person’s chance of future work and helps them springboard out of unemployment and into an empowered future.

Heeding the call, the FirstRand Group created its own programme, which was launched in July 2018 and is a three-year commitment. “FirstJob” provides unemployed young people with a year’s worth of meaningful experience and a qualification to add to their CV.

The intent is to increase their employability, either in an employer organisation or as self-employed entrepreneurs.

The programme is open to matriculants and degreed people between the ages of 18 and 34 who are not currently studying. They must have been unemployed for at least the past six months and have no or limited work experience.

They are provided with a one-year, fixed-term contract at WesBank, and receive a stipend to assist with transport, accommodation and other necessary expenses. Matriculants attend a learnership, while graduates attend a future skills programme at the Gordon Institute of Business Science or a specialist IT learnership.

“The FirstJob programme aims to bridge the gap between education and work by focusing on giving our youth meaningful jobs and building their confidence for future work opportunities,” says Ghana Msibi, WesBank executive head of Motor.

“Each of the individuals accepted into the programme has the dedicated focus of a line manager with an emphasis on building the correct attitude, high demand skills and an entrepreneurial mindset, which make our youth more employable and work ready. With FirstJob we aim to kick-start a career and change a life.”

 “This programme has been the foundation to my career goals,” says Sizwe Ndlovu, one of those who has completed the programme. “While working at WesBank, I participated in programming classes that have broadened my knowledge on the developer side of my IT career. I will also be getting a certificate for IT technician, which will be helpful for when I’m ready to open my own business.”

WesBank has created work experiences for 260 youths in 2018 and 2019. While not the primary aim of the programme, WesBank has also absorbed 37 of the 130 students from 2018 into full-time roles or new fixed-term contracts at the bank.