Exponant has a deep commitment to growing South Africa. They have implemented a holistic 4-point programme to support a sustainable economy. This programme focuses on:
- Developing people;
- Creating entrepreneurs;
- Skill transfer; and
- Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment.
Anyone who has worked in the IT industry and had to find good, experienced developers will know that great dev people in this environment are rare enough to make recruiting them a very expensive exercise. The Exponant Skills Development programme (ESDP) has been launched to develop these skills as well as mentor new people in the industry.
There are two sides to the ESDP; the Learnership and the Internship Programme:
Students who have completed an IT related tertiary qualification are selected for the Learnership programme and are skilled up with soft skills including office etiquette, work ethics, life skills as well as in office tools such as Excel, Word, Outlook and PowerPoint on top of their technical training in systems development.
The Learnership programme meets a specific NQF level which is set to SETA’s Workskills Development plan. The learners on the programme follow a Systems development stream. They are taught to communicate effectively with both IT and Business and to understand the role of technology in a business context. They can solve business problems with appropriate IT solutions.
This addresses the challenges of integrating them into the Internship programme where they will work under Senior Systems engineers in the client environment.
Upon completion of the Learnership programme, the students enter an Internship programme.
Here, they can elect to go into software services or infrastructure. Some of the students also progress to general office work and presales assistants.
On this programme the students are contracted for two years while they are trained up to be fully fledged developers, systems engineers and administrators with certifications and practical experience on site at the clients.
During this time, many of the Interns act as change agents. They help with the adoption of the relevant solution, by being on hand, to help clients complete certain tasks or demonstrating the solution as a refresher course after the client has been trained.
Currently, there are eight learners, who started in February 2019, studying IT Technical Support. They continue to study throughout the Lockdown period with online support from a 3rd party service provider.
These students are also enrolled with the Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA), a skills development institution, established in terms of the Skills Development Act of 1998, to generate, facilitate and accelerate the processes of quality skills development at all levels in this sector.
The MICT SETA engages in learning programmes and quality assurance of education and training of implemented learning initiatives, this leads to employment and new venture creation, while at the engaging in programmes designed to bridge the digital divide.
Exponant also participated in an Internship programme with one of its clients last year where the Interns were trained in CCNA (Cisco) and then they had on the job training.
The programme was a great success. A few students along the way who changed their minds about following a career in IT dropped out of the programme, but 60% of the Interns are now in permanent positions.
Exponant has partnered with some of its clients to create Entrepreneurs.
The company selects some of the most talented consultants to become sub-contractors. Exponant assists these Entrepreneurs with the development of their marketing collateral, writing their proposals, business skill mentoring and manages the administration which can cripple small businesses, if left unchecked, on their behalf. It also provides Human Resources, Legal, Accounting, Legislative and Tax support so that they can get on with growing their businesses.
Many times, clients do not have the time or exposure to keep up with technology and business developments. Exponant believes that technology is only as successful as the commitment of people to participate and gain optimal use of the system.
At Exponant, time is dedicated to explaining the rationale for why systems are developed the way they are as well as sight into the backend, so that they have insight into the changes in their environment. The developers are accessible to the users during the system deployment as well as through SLA’s for support. This is proving to have a very positive impact on the adoption of the clients’ solutions
Exponant has retained its level 1 B-BEEE recognition status for the 3rd year in a row.
With a 51 per cent black shareholding, 33 percent black female ownership and representative senior management, the company continues to grow and develop its competency base.
By implementing this 4-point programme, Exponant believes that is can make a positive contribution to the sector and the economy in general.