Johannesburg, 31 March 2016 – New graduates often bemoan the fact that employers don’t hire them because they lack work experience. “They want work experience, but won’t give us the opportunity to gain it, which seems unfair,” they say. The good news is that one company – Sable Assets – is contributing to changing this trajectory by up-skilling young software developers and helping them gain the work experience they need to take control of their future and contribute to the country’s economic growth.
Sable Assets is one of the companies occupying premises at Riversands Incubation Hub. The company – established in 2011 by Sandile Swana and Sandiswa Nqampoyi – provides a full range of Systems Development Lifecycle (SDLC) services as well as training and consulting services to help clients make their processes efficient and optimally automated.
As a business that’s passionate about innovation and working with young people, Sable Assets hired 30 interns (14 females and 16 males) from provinces such as the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), Limpopo and Gauteng in January this year. The group consists of recent graduates – aged between 23 and 30 – with either a Diploma, B.Tech or BSc in Information Technology (IT), Information Systems, Computer Science or Software Development.
Through the internship programme funded by MICT Seta, interns are being trained as developers and receive a stipend. They work on real projects that will be submitted to clients in municipalities as well the property, property insurance and infrastructure sectors. The students are under the watchful eye of experienced Software Developer and Embedded Systems Integration Engineer, Rachidi Bushidi. He’s training them on systems design and day-to-day programming in Ruby on Rails (a web application) for mobile use.
Sable Assets’ Yami Swana says that so far the programme – which will end in September 2016 – is going exceedingly well. “For now they’re learning how to code and how to conduct themselves in a high-pressure environment; we’re building a professional business here. And while it’s still early days, we’re already seeing a lot of potential in some of them,” says Swana.
Sable Assets aiming to hire the interns permanently
Not only is Sable Assets providing training, it also wants to hire the interns at the end of the programme. “We will definitely hire 80% of these interns as junior developers. So we are looking to make sure that as many of these interns have permanent positions within our company by the end of the year,” says Swana. He adds that in the end, everybody will win, as even those who don’t stay with Sable Assets will move on with valuable skills and go on to enrich the South African developer community.
Twenty-five year-old Neziswa Madikane from the Eastern Cape says she’s excited about being an intern at Sable Assets. “It’s hectic, but I’m enjoying it. I love that I’m doing different things and learning the programming languages,” she says. Madikane now lives in the Joburg CBD has a Diploma in IT Business Application from the Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape. She dreams of being a business analyst and says the experience she’s gaining at Sable Assets will go a long way towards making her dream a reality.
Another intern, Gcina Mqadi (23) from Amanzimtoti in KZN echoed Madikane’s sentiments with regard to gaining experience. “To graduate in May and get my Computer Science and Physics degree, I needed work experience and it was hard to get an internship in KZN,” he says. “I’m grateful for this opportunity; it’s helping me to shape my future,” he adds.
There’s no question that up-skilling young people and investing in their development is key to South Africa’s future economic growth. With companies such as Sable Assets who are committed to empowering young South Africans so our country can grow, the future looks bright.
By Simangele Mzizi