A driving force that underpins everything done by document imaging and management expert, Konica Minolta South Africa, a Bidvest company, is its responsibility to assisting in the improvement of the lives of individuals and communities within South Africa. As part of this, the company’s active Skills Development programme includes a dedicated arm focusing specifically on learnership programmes, particularly aimed at black female learners. Starting in May 2012, Konica Minolta South Africa has run a year-long technical learnership programmes on IT Technical Support and IT System Support. These courses have been NQF aligned (levels four and five respectively) and MICT (Media Information and Communication Technologies) SETA approved. So far, of the 11 learners that have cumulatively completed these programmes, seven have found permanent employment within the company, its branches and dealerships, whilst others have been taken on by other, similar businesses in the IT industry. The recently launched, third Technical Learnership programme, also on IT Technical Support, currently has six black female participants. Laetitia Coetzer, special projects manager at Konica Minolta South Africa explained, ‘All students on Konica Minolta South Africa’s Technical Learnership programme were unemployed prior to commencing the course; but had some previous technical experience, along with a minimum level three National Technical Certificate (NTC).’ In May 2013, the company launched a sales and marketing learnership programme, which is the first of its kind in South Africa, registered with the Services SETA and is NQF level 4 aligned. ‘We had seven black female learners on the first sales and marketing course, with four finding positions within Konica Minolta South Africa’s branch network. The recruitment process is currently underway to source ten suitable applicants for this year’s learnership programme, due to commence in mid June 2014. All students on this course are unemployed school leavers, who have attained a minimum 50 percent grade in mathematics in their Matric examinations.’ As well as imparting its considerable technical, sales and marketing knowledge to those on the learnership programmes, Konica Minolta South Africa also believes it is critical to equip these young women with life and soft-skills. ‘These include tips on managing job interviews, how to behave in the workplace, conflict resolution, personal finance, as well as computer skills such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Word and Excel. Every year we learn from the previous years’ experience and adjust our learnership programmes accordingly,’ added Coetzer. ‘We are dedicated to helping alleviate unemployment and upskill those who were previously disadvantaged. The students that have come through our programmes are now better prepared for the job market, and we are delighted to have been able to offer some of them permanent positions within our branch and dealer network. At Konica Minolta South Africa, we take a forward looking view in terms of training and grooming for succession planning,’ she continued. These cutting edge programmes have resulted in the company’s jump from a broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) rating of Level 4 to Level 3. ‘For Konica Minolta South Africa, these learnership programmes and their B-BBEE contribution are about more than just bragging rights; they are about empowerment and improving the lives of individuals and communities in South Africa,’ concluded Coetzer.
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