Empowering South Africa’s youth is crucial for South Africa’s post-COVID recovery

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South Africa is no exception to the global unemployment phenomenon with an unemployment rate of 30.1%. South Africa’s young people are the most vulnerable in the economy however, making up 63.3% of unemployed people. Young people face particular challenges relating to skills development, and their futures rely heavily on job readiness and their ability to enter the job market.

Local Customer Journey Management and Customer Experience (CX) software company inQuba has made large strides in the struggle against youth unemployment through its work with the YES4Youth employment programme. As a result of its efforts, inQuba was recently awarded level 2 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) status.

Through the YES4Youth programme, inQuba hired six young people into full-time positions at the company for a year-long contract. And while the YES4Youth programme insists that these youth are paid a minimum wage, inQuba pledged to pay them a much higher, fair wage for their work, as well as mentor and guide them as they make their first forays into the industry.

inQuba Financial Manager Jaco Duvenhage says the company chose to improve its BBBEE score through training previously disadvantaged people, and particularly the youth, because it would have the most long-lasting impact. “In this way we can assist them in bettering themselves and lower the unemployment rate in South Africa,” he says. 

inQuba Managing Director Trent Rossini stresses the importance of BBBEE in alleviating inequality in South Africa. “At inQuba, we believe that including previously disadvantaged communities in the ownership and management of our business is both a moral imperative and crucial to economic growth, particularly during such trying times as we are now facing as a result of the COVID pandemic,” Rossini said. “BBBEE is critical to reforming South Africa and driving economic transformation in the country.”

Kabelo Kholungoane, one of the YES4Youth young people employed by inQuba, said he was grateful for the experience working with the software company. “The YES4Youth programme furnished me with a lifetime opportunity that got me landing on a company called inQuba. At inQuba, I have learned and adapted what I call: ‘The inQuba Culture’,” he says. “The inQuba Culture leads a life that is successful, fulfilling, inspirational, and it also entangles with splendiferous work experience. I am grateful.”

“For inQuba to reach the BBBEE level 2 rating, it doesn’t only mean a new rating, but it also means great exposure and more opportunities to come.”

These sentiments were echoed by another young person enrolled in the YES4Youth programme, Mosebethoana Huma. “I am really grateful for the opportunity to be a Quban and be part of the inQuba family. The support from all my colleagues has been amazing and I am excited that inQuba received a level 2 BBBEE rating as this means growth and more opportunities for the company,” Huma says.

Additionally, says Rossini, the company’s improved BBBEE status will strongly support inQuba’s strategy to expand its offering and customer base in South Africa.

“Our new reality is one where large chunks of everyday life are missing,” he comments, “The Economist coined the phrase ‘The 90% Economy’, which refers to a reality that’s far from normal. There are fewer domestic flights, some restaurants haven’t opened again yet, and households are rationalising by cancelling services they no longer need. The impact on business has been considerable. There’s a gap that needs to be filled and customer retention has moved to centre stage.

“It’s evident that a blueprint for Customer Experience is urgently needed in the new economy, and we have developed a comprehensive Customer Journey Management blueprint in response. inQuba’s level 2 status will help us to take that blueprint to more South African organisations and help them to not only survive, but thrive.”

“inQuba strives to add value to the South African economy not only through our services, but also through our commitment to contributing to social development and transformation,” Rossini says. “Our mission is to help South Africa realise its full economic potential by bringing the black majority into the economic mainstream through the mechanisms provided for by BBBEE, among others.”

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