More SA companies should focus on empowering our youth


While there isn’t a simple solution to the number of employment- and skills-related problems that South Africa currently faces, companies such as Compuscan – one of SA’s leading credit bureaus – recognise their responsibility to address the growing need for practical skills development among young South Africans.

Comments Frank Lenisa, Chief Marketing Officer at Compuscan: “We believe that there is tremendous power in collective action, specifically by medium-sized and small businesses in South Africa. Together, the private sector could make a difference if more companies made the commitment to exposing talented individuals to real-life environments in which they could be mentored and coached while earning a salary.”

Further to its existing training initiatives that include SETA-accredited learnerships, the bureau has partnered with the University of the Western Cape to bridge the gap between skills training within the data analytics field and the on-the-job demands faced by many young graduates entering the workplace.

Compuscan has borne the fruit of their efforts as five postgraduate students will complete their internships in Data Analytics in August next year – providing them with the tools that will stand them in good stead upon formally entering the workplace. Beyond its focus on innovative credit risk management solutions by means of scoring, analytics and predictive modelling, the internship offers more than a hands-on learning experience; it provides a way to generate a more competent workforce that will, in turn, contribute towards a more competitive sector.

Lenisa continues: “Compuscan has taken the initiative to drive change as it draws from its strengths as a leading provider of training solutions within the credit and data industry. With some of South Africa’s leading data scientists working for us, we have successfully implemented a knowledge-transfer system that has not only equipped these students with hard skills, but enabled them to develop their soft skills.”

internship

Sharing her thoughts on the value of the experience, data analytics intern, Noxolo Myeketsi comments: “This internship has allowed me to discover the true power of data analytics and its ability to improve the decision-making process within the credit industry. It has opened my eyes to the many factors that influence how real-world analytics work.”

Adding to these sentiments, Dionah Tshabalala expresses: “I have learnt things that you cannot find in any classroom. It makes me feel ready and confident to apply my skills and knowledge to make a difference within my chosen field.”

The students have been introduced to a working environment that requires flexibility, teamwork and strong problem-solving skills. For many of them, the real value of the opportunity presented itself in facing these challenges to become well-rounded data scientists who are able to accurately process information and deliver well-articulated solutions.

Further to their growing confidence, these students now possess vital attributes that set them apart in an increasingly competitive market. As big data and artificial intelligence become the order of the day, recruiters and large institutions have expressed their growing concern over a nationwide shortage in newly trained analysts.

Comments Byran Titus, also an intern at Compuscan: “This opportunity has enabled me to not only challenge the way I think about analytics, but to understand its place within the value chain of a company. Being guided by a team of professionals has encouraged me to learn to apply my mind in many different ways.”

By exploring alternative solutions that address the shortage of work-ready graduates within this field, Compuscan is contributing towards a global workforce that has the potential to become part of the company’s most valuable assets.

Lenisa concludes: “In providing on-the-job training within such a niche industry, we hope to contribute towards the future of these young people as they are groomed for an efficient transition into the general business world. We will continue to invest in data analytics training as we believe it will continue to benefit both our business and the economy at large.”