Learnerships seek to change the circumstances of disabled South Africans

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Around 2.9 million South Africans are living with disabilities yet only one percent have jobs - the key to reducing this lies in proper skills development.  

Richard Rayne, CEO of iLearn, a leading South African learning solutions business, which offers a range of Learnerships and short courses, says the institution has made it its mission to help reverse the “staggering figure” and help afford disabled people equal opportunities in the workplace.  

“We need to find a solution to this rather dire problem. And the answer to empowering people with disabilities lies with training and up-skilling them through Learnership programmes, in order for them to succeed and make a positive contribution to the economy and society as a whole,” Rayne says.  

To demonstrate iLearn’s commitment to boosting the amount of employed disabled South Africans, the organisation has partnered with Air Traffic & Navigation Services (ATNS) for the next 12 months to ensure learners obtain the necessary scarce skills training through vocational programmes and help secure a job in the field. ATNS provides air traffic control services, training and associated services within South Africa and a large part of the Southern Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Candidates selected for this Learnership present with a range of disabilities, including cognitive and physical disabilities.

“This partnership aims to make a difference through training in areas of national significance and produce individuals who are highly skilled and ready to enter the workforce,” Rayne says.

A Learnership is a vocational and educational programme that links structured learning and work experience in order to obtain a registered qualification. It combines theory and workplace practice into a qualification registered by the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). 

What are the benefits for the learner: 

  • A fixed-term employment contract and generous allowance for the duration of the programme.
  • An opportunity to enter the job market and appeal to current and future employers.
  • A nationally-recognised qualification.

According to Rayne, iLearn offers a hyper-personalised approach to Learnerships that supports interactive learning. “We help companies to identify skills gaps and create learning pathways that encourage continuous employee learning, which aids both career development and business growth.”

The partnership with ATNS has afforded Elizabeth Nzima the opportunity to complete a Learnership and possibly secure a job with ATNS. Nzima was born with a physical disability on her right leg, which has resulted in a permanent limp.

“Through this vocational training programme, Elizabeth Nzima has already achieved so much. She is a shining example of a learner who comes from very little, but who has excelled and done exceptionally well despite the odds. We are incredibly proud of what she has achieved,” says ATNS CEO, Thabani Mthiyane

Watch Elizabeth Nzima’s story here.

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