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Press Release

Finding your feet and corporate culture fit at Altron

While graduating with a degree is an exciting time for thousands of South Africans, the prospect of finding a job, let alone one where you can grow, learn and use your skills, is unfortunately quite rare. With South African youth aged 15-24 years and 25-34 years currently experiencing the highest unemployment rates of 60,7% and 39,8% respectively, the prospects of finding suitable employment for graduates can be daunting.

It is for this reason that Altron runs a bespoke graduate programme every year to not only find suitable talent to grow within the company, but to proactively give back and empower South African tech graduates with the opportunity to find long-term and rewarding employment.

“With a specific focus on AI and data science, this year we have selected 12 graduates to participate in the programme. What we have found is that while graduates may have the technical knowhow gained from their tertiary education, the realities within the working world comes with its own challenges that we fully equip them for,” says Christel Schoeman, Tech Engagement Lead at Altron Karabina.

Busisiwe Zulu, one of Altron’s recent graduates, says that her experience within the graduate programme was the overwhelming feeling of being within a safe environment.

“There were so many people at different levels within the company available as mentors, which really grew our learning potential. This not only helped with my nerves, but equipped us with the necessary technical and practical skills to comfortably integrate into the company”. Zulu is now employed as a Junior Technical Consultant in Data Analytics and AI.

The initial three months of the programme consists of intense technical training with each graduate partnered with a senior technical specialist.
Since a large majority of Altron works on a hybrid model, the company pays particular attention to providing on site mentoring and interaction so that graduates don’t feel isolated. With Altron predominantly being a technical consulting firm, learning how best to deal with customers is key, with the programme also including substantial soft skills training.

After three months, graduates are provided with invaluable practical on the job experience by being placed on existing customer projects. While they are initially not responsible for immediate deliverables, they do get the opportunity to become more familiar and confident with client interaction.

“One customer, a leading food and beverage company in Africa, was so impressed by some of our graduates last year that they asked for them to continue on the project post the programme,” says Schoeman. “In return for the skills and experience gained, what we expect from those in our graduate programme is to also give back, and to share the knowledge they have learnt with others. It is for this reason that many junior consultants within Altron are also very involved in mentoring new grad recruits, playing their part in creating a culture of working together and openly being able to ask for help and guidance”.

While the reputation of the tech industry is that job hopping may seem like the norm, Altron’s vision is to create long-term career prospects, to attract and retain talent and to sustain a work environment where employees can continually grow and progress, with job satisfaction being a priority. As such, the company provides each graduate with what their earning and growth potential can be for the next five years.

“Our graduates predominantly come with a programming background, although we have also accepted some with maths, science or engineering degrees who have shown their passion to bring what they have learnt into data science and AI.

“This graduate programme exposes participants to so many different aspects of tech that you are able to find your niche and recognise the area of tech that you would like to pursue,” Zulu adds.

The success of this programme speaks for itself, with all graduates since the inception of the programme successfully employed full time at the company, and the programme itself doubling in size this year, testament to the standard of the programme and the rigorous selection process involved.

“If we want to continue to be a leading technology and services company, we need to be part of the solution to the technical skills gap and create a better tomorrow for young South African tech talent,” says Schoeman.

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