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Cape NPO Life Choices launches digital skills accelerator

Cape Town-based non-profit organisation (NPO) Life Choices has launched LC Studio in partnership with the Momentum Metropolitan Foundation

The digital accelerator was officially launched on 29 June 2021 to allow unemployed youth to accelerate through the training process, from inexperienced intern to skilled digital employee. 

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The LC Studio programme

Life Choices has helped over 200 000 unemployed youth since it was founded in 2005. They are guided by the principle that humans have the power to find solutions for the deep-seated problems within society – an idea that resonated with the Momentum Metropolitan Foundation.

The NPO has helped over 200 000 unemployed youth since 2005

Managing Director at Life Choices Sofia Neves says, “One of Life Choices interventions provide school-leavers with 6-months coding boot camps combined with 6-months industry internships. However, COVID-19 disrupted the normal internship process and a solution was needed to ensure that these students do not fall by the wayside. We decided to launch our own Dev House to ensure that students receive real-world experience while working on commercial projects. At the same time, clients engage with interns regularly to recruit young talent, in this way we can ensure the final aim of the intervention – youth employment.”

Interns work with senior developers and experienced freelancers and therefore diversify their skills in alignment with industry needs. This model allows LC Studio to provide quality services at competitive rates.

“We have enrolled 44 interns that have piloted several projects, several websites and web applications. Based on the pilot, we are now launching LC Studio that will offer services in web design, web application and QA testing,” says Neves. 

Ryan Geel, Head of LC Studio adds, “It is distressing that in a country with such high unemployment, companies are struggling to find tech talent and on average 28 000 digital and ICT jobs are offshored to other countries, translating to billions of lost export revenue.”

“The reason for this crisis is multifaceted; price sensitivity and expertise are top contributors. We are also aware that these jobs are mainly at mid to senior levels and that many companies cannot upskill juniors to those levels. It is critical to find creative solutions to this. This is always the ultimate goal,” says Geel. “Permanent employment using the skills and experience they have gained at LC Studio.”  

Nkosinathi Mahlangu, Momentum Metropolitan’s Youth Employment Portfolio Head, comments on the programme: “This is not just about providing affordable tech services but more about empowering the youth of SA. As we are all catapulted into the fourth industrial revolution, we need to arm our youth with the skills they need to compete and succeed in today’s job market.” 

As one of LC Studio’s first funders, the Momentum Metropolitan Foundation believes in this critical approach to bridging the experience gap. In Mahlangu’s experience, young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are often prevented from entering the workplace due to a lack of experience – yet without a job, they are unable to gain valuable knowledge.

“If we can teach our young South Africans the importance of being resilient and equipping them with the skills needed to handle the demands of the modern workplace – we can start chipping away at the national shame that is youth unemployment,” concludes Mahlangu.

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Featured image: Good Faces via Unsplash

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