Track Talk F2

Embracing Adversity: a Learnership’s Story

Ezanne Grobler

09:00-09:45 CEST Friday 16th June

By creating our own learnership, we established a way to “make our own” automation engineers. Our syllabus was designed to combine the required industry skills while upskilling learners in the tools and languages our main customers require. Not only did we address our recruitment problem, but we also confronted the social predicaments that our country faces.

As a result of our past, our beautiful country, South Africa, is confronted with several social dilemmas. Two of these are the exceptionally high unemployment rate and upskilling our previously disadvantaged. In addition to these factors, our software testing consulting company experienced a shortage of affordable automation engineers – with the right combination of skills – to address our clients’ needs.

Most of our competitors looked to the East to solve their problems by recruiting from there or outsourcing their automation work. However, when we stopped looking at these issues in isolation and instead combined the skills problem with our country’s social dilemmas, we realised we had a perfect opportunity instead.

Our single WhatsApp message describing the learnership opportunity went viral. Within a week, we received more than 5000 CVs. Sifting through these was quite a task, but using several assessment approaches, 15 successful candidates received full-time employment offers.

On 1 August 2022, these newly appointed learners embarked on a two-month academy journey. The syllabus included an introduction to software testing, fundamentals of test automaton, several courses on automation tools, the principles of DevOps, the principles and ways of working within different development mythologies, and exposure to various application lifecycle tools. In turn, our clients were pleased that we could place resources with them who understood their challenges and had the skills to solve them.

What did we learn from all this? Sometimes, by combining challenges, the solution presents itself. In our case, by redirecting our external focus and finding answers to our country’s needs, we found a solution for our own needs as well.