Illovo Sugar Africa funds new venture creation (NVC) Learnership to contribute to skills development for 81 unemployed youth

The client

Illovo Sugar Africa (Pty) Ltd based in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal South Africa, is Africa’s largest sugar producer.

What did it need?

The national unemployment rate remains around 29%, according to Statistics South Africa’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this could increase to 40% by the end of the year (National Treasury, 2020). Even more concerning is the the unemployment rate of young individuals between the ages of 15 and 34 years, which currently sits at 56%, but which could also increase to 60% as a result of the current global pandemic (Trading Economics, 2020). However, while South Africa is far from realising the employment goals set out in the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030, there are pockets of progress being made in creating jobs for young individuals (Fin24, 2020), as evidenced by the efforts of Illovo Sugar.

Illovo Sugar Africa (Pty) Ltd saw the need to embark on a community upliftment programme, with the primary aim of addressing the nation’s struggle to produce adequate skills for job securement and entrepreneurial ventures.

How did NOSA Help?

Learnerships are generally aimed at educating learners through combined workplace experience and structured learning, to give them the opportunity to adopt new skills to enable them to develop a career.

The NVC learnership programme was launched in five respective locations in KwaZulu-Natal: Eston, Noodsberg, Merebank, Sezela, and Umzimkulu, mentoring 81 learners over a 12-month programme. These learners were largely school leavers, although they ranged between 18 and 35 years’ old. The criteria for selection required successful participants to be unemployed, hold a grade 12 qualification (or equivalent), and reside in one of the aforementioned rural areas.

The purpose of the NQF Level 2 New Venture Creation (NVC) qualification is to provide a basis for structured programmes, for potential and existing entrepreneurs to capitalise on opportunities, to start and grow sustainable businesses that form part of the mainstream economy, enabling the learners to tender for business opportunities within both the public and private sectors.

During the course of the programme, learners were exposed to a number of concepts within the 38 unit standards they were expected to complete, including: exercises and concepts of business ethics; financial requirements of a new venture; marketing and selling processes; preparation and processes for financial and banking processes; business etiquette; customer service; basic HR principles; tender practices; internal and external scanning; co-ordination of meetings, and minor events and travel arrangements, etc.

The results

At the end of the learnership programme, all 81 learners were deemed competent, affording them a national certificate in New Venture Creation.