ZTE South Africa aims to employ 10 Electrical Engineering and Computer Science graduates for a year, during which time they will receive a market-related stipend.
ZTE South Africa, part of the ZTE Corporation – a global brand in the provision of telecommunications equipment and network solutions – has committed itself to improving the skills of South African youth.
“Statistics tell us that joblessness is running at 50 percent amongst our youth, which constitutes a crisis in any terms,” says Stephen Leie, HR Manager at ZTE. “It’s also a missed opportunity for the economy because it means we are missing out on the contribution of millions of people in their prime—a sheer waste of talent that could benefit us all.”
One new initiative is a formal graduate training and internship scheme. Mr Leie says that technology graduates often lack exposure to current IT technologies, as well as business experience. This programme aims to provide both an opportunity for recent graduates to work with cutting-edge technology and to gain work experience. Mr Leie says that because technology is developing so fast, and the skills are in such high demand by business, it is not surprising that universities and colleges cannot keep up.
Recruitment for ZTE’s internship programme, which will begin in June 2017, has already begun. The corporation aims to employ 10 Electrical Engineering and Computer Science graduates for a year, during which time they will receive a market-related stipend. At the end of the year, says Mr Leie, the most promising will be offered full-time employment, while the others will be much more marketable as they will have work-related experience.
A key benefit for interns will be the exposure to world-class research. ZTE is opening a new R&D facility at its new head office in Woodmead—one of only five such centres worldwide. Interns will thus gain experience not only in research but also how to adapt it for commercialisation.
ZTE South Africa, CEO and Chairman, Mr. Liu Haishi, highlights that graduate recruitment programme is only one of the company’s initiatives aimed at growing its involvement in the South African market through community upliftment.
“ZTE has also initiated a project aimed at helping young deaf people to acquire the skills they need to get jobs and establish independent lives for themselves. ZTE’s partner in this initiative is eDeaf, a non-governmental organisation which endeavours “to empower deaf communities for business”. Mr Haishi says that deaf youth constitute a particularly marginalised subset of the youth population who deserve help.
eDeaf uses computer-based training to impart suitable skills to this group and helps them to obtain learnerships in business.
“We have been supporting eDeaf since 2015, and it has been so successful that we have recently added a further 29 sponsorships to the existing 10,” says Mr Haishi. “For us, it is critical not only that we help young people acquire the right skills, we also must ensure they transition successfully into the workplace—that’s the common thread that runs through all ZTE South Africa’s social investment projects,” Mr. Haishi concludes.
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