Ricoh SA’s learnership and internship skills development programme, which kicked off in 2017, has grown to support marketing and sales, technical support and business administration.
Nearly 200 people have graduated from Ricoh SA’s learnership and internship skills development programme, 79 of whom have become fixed-term or permanent Ricoh SA employees in the process.
‘The programme is a major part of our transformation drive,’ said Teresa Badenhorst, HR director at Ricoh SA. ‘Many of the candidates come from previously disadvantaged communities. Some are living with disabilities, and some have exceptional qualifications but lack experience, and, while we employed 79 of them, a further 109 have gone on to be employed elsewhere in the industry.’
The success of the programme is such that in 2017, government approved 10 fully-funded learnerships paid for by the SETA. It’s hard to find the right talent in the market today, even though people are hungry for work,’ said Jessie Makhudu, transformation executive at Ricoh SA. ‘That’s why we have invested in developing the pool for the organisation and the industry.’
Lorraine Motshwene, one of the 188 former learners, was employed elsewhere in the industry following her graduation. ‘Even though I have left Ricoh, it will always have a special place in my heart for the values it has added in my life, including all the efforts of the technical team. I just landed a promotion to be on the online technical team and it’s all because of the experience I got at Ricoh, plus the training they provided me with,’ she said.
‘The strategic transformation programme aligns perfectly with Ricoh’s values encapsulated in what we call the Spirit of Three Loves,’ said Badenhorst. ‘Love your neighbour, love your country, and love your work, established by our founder in 1946.’
Two other graduates, Sihle Nkosi and Pule Mokone, are both now junior field engineers for Ricoh SA. Mokone said, ‘I was selling tickets for a major event ticket sales company, got promoted to supervisor, and became an IT infrastructure technician, but without qualifications. The company said I should study IT and I did a two-year diploma. When I graduated, the college recommended me to the learnership, which was looking for my skills. Now I solve customer challenges on a daily basis, which is what I love because I get to learn something new every day, and I work with advanced technologies that help companies provide services that people really want.’
Adele Olivier, learning and development manager at Ricoh SA, who heads the programme, said Ricoh works closely with the Media, Information and Communication Technologies (MICT) SETA.
‘IT skills are scarce, so we usually run two to three different types of learnerships,’ she said. ‘The candidates usually complete three to four months of training at our training partner in a specific field before we take them on to complete the year with practical experience. During that time they earn a stipend and we often offer them fixed-term or permanent employment at the end of the 12-month term, depending on their role. Even those who we don’t place have experiential training, which so many companies want from their candidates, and thereby helps them deal with the old conundrum of needing experience to find a job but requiring a job to get the necessary experience.’
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