Leveraging Learnerships for Lasting Impact

Companies sponsoring learnerships are looking beyond profit towards a better future

Business success is not only about profit margins and market share—it is also about positively impacting
society and contributing to the growth of future leaders. A powerful way for businesses to achieve this is
by funding learnerships, where every programme sponsored has the potential to transform lives and
build a brighter future for individuals, communities, companies and the economy as a whole.

This is according to Rajan Naidoo, the Managing Director of EduPower Skills Academy. He believes that
learnerships provide an effective mechanism for companies to actively participate in shaping the
workforce of tomorrow. “Skills development has the ability to transform an individual’s life and by
sponsoring learnerships, companies not only invest in their future workforce but also contribute to
broader societal upliftment.”

Naidoo highlights the ripple effect that learnerships have: “Learnerships are an invaluable way for
companies to extend their influence beyond the boardroom. In so doing, they provide hope and
opportunities to those who would otherwise not have had an opportunity to develop the skills required
to build a sustainable career.”

Outsourced hosting

One of the key advantages of partnering with EduPower is that companies can make a difference
without the need to host learners on their premises. EduPower consolidates training and work
experience at its facilities, ensuring a cohesive, all-in-one experience. “This flexibility allows companies
to focus on their core business activities while still playing an active role in the development journey of
the learners they are sponsoring,” Naidoo explains.

Transformative impact

Smangele Chiyi is one example and a testament to the profound change that can be brought about by
fully hosted learnerships. As a young woman, she was involved in a hit-and-run accident and is now
paralysed from the waist down. It was only when she started a learnership programme with Edupower
that her belief in herself started to grow. Today, she has practical skills and industry-specific knowledge
that have unlocked new possibilities for her. In fact, the learnership has given her so much confidence
that she qualified for the National Senior Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team.

“Smangele’s journey showcases how one person’s life can be massively transformed by a learnership,
setting off a chain reaction of success,” Naidoo elaborates. “Our goal at EduPower is to empower
individuals to break the cycle of poverty through skills development. Every sponsor becomes a partner in
this journey, contributing not only to a person’s career but also to their entire life trajectory.”

Beyond the altruistic satisfaction of making a difference, companies also gain tangible benefits from
sponsoring learnerships. Businesses can build a pipeline of young talent that is not only skilled but also
aligned with the company’s values and ethos.

“Investing in learnerships is a strategic move for businesses looking to secure their future workforce. It’s
about cultivating a pool of talented individuals who can contribute meaningfully to their organisation,”
he adds.

Return on Investment

In addition, learnerships also offer companies a valuable opportunity to maximise points for the Skills
Development element of their Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) scorecards. Besides demonstrating a commitment to diversity and inclusion, a positive rating can open doors to new
business opportunities. Furthermore, organisations benefit from tax rebates and discretionary and
mandatory grants. This, combined with outsourcing the hosting of learnerships to a reputable service
provider, makes sponsorships a no-brainer.

Naidoo concludes: “In a world where a hand-up rather than a hand-out is increasingly needed,
sponsoring learnerships is a compelling way for companies to make a lasting impact on our youth and
society. By supporting skills development, businesses become architects of positive change, shaping a
future with increased opportunities and hope for a better life for the disadvantaged.

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