The Samsung Electronic Engineering Academy, in Boksburg, is an initiative to train youths in the technical field to reach Samsung’s goal of having developed 10 000 electronics technicians in Africa by 2015.
The programme is a critical part of the company’s vision to secure its sustainability in Africa by building a skilled pool of resources from which to draw its employees. The programme contributes to the continent’s growth by helping develop the technical skills needed to support the leap into the competitive global economy.
Each of the graduates received a certificate of completion, and those who achieved more than 80% received a certificate of achievement. The top three students in each grade walked away with various Samsung gadgets. The overall top achiever at the academy for 2011 and 2012 was Refiloe Machaba.
The academy provides hands-on vocational skills training, free of charge, for 240 learners (Grade 10 to 12) from eight participating technical high schools in the region and for 320 students from four further education and training colleges in the Ekurhuleni municipality.
The students attend the academy after school for two hours every weekday. The programme comprises basic, intermediate and advanced engineering skills, aligned with the students’ curriculum at school. The coursework is developed in consultation with the electrical technology facilitator in the region so that students are introduced to industry-appropriate skills, tools and equipment.
The academy provides learners who cannot enter tertiary education with skilled, well- paying job opportunities – subsequently supporting government’s drive to deal with the problem of youth unemployment.
The 2011 graduates were all placed in positions at Samsung’s service centre and knock-down plant, as well as with its call- centre partners, all in Gauteng. The programme aims to continue this placement trend for the 2012 graduates.
Samsung has also launched the academy in Kenya and Nigeria, contributing towards the development of a pool of engineering schools on the continent. The programme will be rolled out in Ethiopia and Côte d’Ivoire this year and in various African countries over the next few years.
The University of Johannesburg is committed to supporting the programme, in recognition of the advanced capabilities of the academy’s graduates and its overall contribution to skills development in South Africa. Discussions are under way with Samsung to get the programme accredited and officially endorsed by the university.
Samsung has also taken into account young people outside the formal education system – matriculants who are unemployed or who are performing menial jobs.
Through its partnership with the National Economic Education Trust, the Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy has opened its doors to matricu- lants who have achieved good mathematics and science marks, but have been unable to find suitable jobs.
By giving them the opportunity to attend special classes, Samsung is dealing with another major challenge in South Africa – the formal education system that often does not equip students with the practical skills that will secure good jobs.
The programme is part of the company’s global Hope for Children initiative, which focuses on bringing attention to the worldwide need for childhood education and healthcare to improve communities.