The Quarterly Labour Force Survey from Stats SA recorded with concern that South Africa faces a youth unemployment crises. At the beginning of 2022, youth unemployment for the ages 15 to 24 were recorded at 64% and 42% for those aged 25 to 35 years.
While black women are still recorded as being the most marginalised in the economy, the young, black entrepreneurs at Quilder non-profit company are part of reshaping digital innovation in Africa. Women are at the forefront of leading change at the Quilder Innovation Hub.
Abigail Kanyane is a qualified electrician and content developer at Quilder Non-profit Company. ‘They use their skills as qualified artisans in the built and construction environments, and combine this with their self-taught skills in digital technologies such as 3-D modelling, animation, storyboarding, live streaming and many others. The result is online education products that keep learners immersed and focused on their course material.’
The Quilder Innovation Hub has a creative funding model of generating income through the artisan work of electricians, plumbers, tilers and more, at different construction sites with the help of Quilder NPC. They also learn business skills in the process and work with partners in the digital education and higher learning innovation areas.
In this way, the young people at Quilder NPC improve their technical skills by doing actual work on construction sites, while learning at the same time, in the process of making their educational products.
Quilder NPC has successfully partnered with leading immersive learning creator, Fosh Learning, for the development of learning products for the Department of Higher Education. The young people of Quilder NPC are also working with the Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) in its Women in Plumbing programme.
Quilder NPC was recently awarded funding by the Energy and Water Sector Education Training Authority (EWSETA) that allows Quilder NPC to show other young people how they can generate an income and run a business successfully.
‘Our partners are, of course, very instrumental to our success,’ says Abigail. ‘Miss Lungile Tshabalala at the EWSETA is a great inspiration to us because she is a role model who has shown support and interest in young women artisans. Her encouragement drives us, and we want her to be proud of us.
‘We are also especially thankful for the help of Fosh Learning. With the help of Fosh Learning, we were able to access digital equipment and software, and have access to Wi-Fi. This, in turn, meant that we could teach ourselves new skills and develop our learning products.
‘We were also able to learn from the network of companies and clients that work with Fosh Learning and those include the Department of Higher Education and Training, industry associations such as IOPSA, several large building materials companies and many smaller contractor companies in the construction industry. Most importantly, they have been able to work with internationally based companies in Namibia, Germany and Myanmar.’
The youth unemployment crises of South Africa remain a key concern in Africa, but the work of Quilder NPC is a positive reminder that young people can do so much for themselves, with the support of corporates and government.