Rishaad Tayob is the Consumer Business Director at Vodacom South Africa responsible for Consumer Sales including Distribution and Terminals.
Through initiatives like ConnectU and NXT LVL, SA youth become empowered and employed
Youth Month in South Africa is an annual commemoration that holds great significance for the nation. It serves as a reminder of the pivotal role young people played in the struggle for freedom and equality during the Soweto Uprising in 1976. In line with this year’s theme of “accelerating youth economic emancipation for a sustainable future,” Vodacom has taken meaningful steps to empower the youth and foster their inclusion in the digital economy. Through various initiatives, Vodacom is actively addressing the challenges of youth unemployment and creating opportunities for a brighter future.
Youth Unemployment in South Africa
South Africa faces a persistent challenge of high youth unemployment rates. The economic disparities and limited job prospects hinder the growth and potential of the younger generation. Recognising this pressing issue, Vodacom has made it a priority to contribute to the economic emancipation of the youth, offering them avenues to enhance their skills, access opportunities, and participate in the digital economy. Vodacom’s ConnectU, a free, zero-rated platform for customers on the network, focuses on providing information and is categorised specific pillars such as education, jobs, social, health safety & security and so much more. In direct response to the high unemployment rate, ConnectU, with its jobs pillar offer young people gig opportunities and jobs through a partnership with jobjack.co.za. Young people in South Africa also have an opportunity to apply for jobs through zero-rated job sites including Careers24, CareerJunction; JobMail, to name a few.
Empowering Youth through Skills Development
Vodacom understands that equipping the youth with relevant digital skills is crucial for their economic empowerment. We have implemented several initiatives to enhance digital literacy and provide training opportunities. These include partnering with educational institutions such as UNISA to offer future-ready digital solutions to students, offering coding through the #CodeLikeAGirl programme for young learners and providing online learning platforms through the e-School programme for school going children.
By empowering the youth with the knowledge and tools necessary for the digital age, Vodacom is enabling them to navigate and thrive in a rapidly evolving job market. Youth in South Africa also have an opportunity to access free online courses from business to technology for personal development. Additionally, youth can grow their skills through Udemy, an online learning and teaching marketplace.
Learnerships and Job Creation
Vodacom recognises that youth entrepreneurship plays a vital role in driving economic growth and reducing unemployment rates. To foster an entrepreneurial mindset, Vodacom has established programmes that provide mentorship and resources to young aspiring leaders. Through the ConnectU platform, youth in South Africa can access different learnership opportunities through the SA Learnership site which offers a large database of learnerships available in South Africa. By giving access to such platforms, Vodacom believes it is helping shape a dynamic and inclusive digital economy.
Access to Digital Opportunities
Vodacom acknowledges that access to digital opportunities is a prerequisite for youth economic emancipation. Through the network infrastructure expansion and modern technologies, Vodacom is working to ensure that more young people can connect to the digital world. The launch of NXT LVL (pronounced next level), is aimed at all South Africans under the age of 25, it offers free access to exclusive deals and services that empower young people to be themselves. NXT LVL offers young people true value, with affordable data bundles to keep young people connected to the thing they love the most. For instance, a 1GB on NXT LVL valid for 1-day is only R15. By democratizing access to the digital space, Vodacom is opening doors for young South Africans to explore educational resources, job opportunities, and learnership platforms.
Collaborations and Partnerships:
Vodacom understands that collaboration is key to achieving meaningful impact. We actively collaborate with government entities and educational institutions to create comprehensive and sustainable solutions for youth empowerment. By joining forces with various stakeholders, Vodacom leverages their collective expertise, resources, and networks to address the multifaceted challenges faced by the youth. For instance, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vodacom partnered with Microsoft to launch Connected Education for learners across the country. With technology and technology solutions continuously playing a critical role in connecting people to lifesaving information, over the last three years, Vodacom has deliberately partnered with YouTube to offer customers additional value through the incorporation of YouTube data bundles into most packages and, on certain NXT LVL data bundles.
Just recently, Vodacom in partnership with YouTube launched a promotional offer ending in July, where qualifying NXT LVL customers get mobile voice and data bundles bolted with a YouTube data allocation to enable them to stream content on YouTube. Labelled Mzansi NXT LVL, this product comes at the back of a long-standing partnership with YouTube. Customers can get 20GB [4GB All Access bundle + 4GB Super Social bundles + 12 Night Owl Bundles] valid for 7 days.
Vodacom also partnered with several brands to reward NXT LVL customers for their loyalty with Vodacom, via the new NXT LVL Rewards platform facilitated by VodaBucks.
Reward partners include the likes of Krispy Kreme, Vida e Café and Upskillist, an educational brand – all of which aim to ensure customers are plugged into connectivity and skills.
As South Africa commemorates Youth Month and focuses on accelerating youth economic emancipation for a sustainable future, Vodacom stands as a committed partner in driving positive change. Through the numerous initiatives including skills development, digital access, and collaborations and partnership, Vodacom is empowering the youth and fostering their inclusion in the digital economy. By providing the necessary tools, support, and opportunities, Vodacom is actively contributing to a brighter future where South African youth can thrive, create sustainable livelihoods, and play a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s digital transformation.