Standard Bank has launched a new platform aimed at helping millions of youth across the African continent to “plug in” to the economy by offering them access to tools, resources, support, and opportunities. PluggedIn is open to the public and offers end-to-end career services within a single platform. With the initial launch, PluggedIn aims at helping young people with choosing the right career path and provides access to skills development courses to increase their chances of employability. The next phase will be “plugging” young people into work-related opportunities.
The 2022 Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the first quarter of 2022 pegs South Africa’s youth unemployment rate at 63.9%. Although this is largely driven by macro-economic conditions; a lack of access to educational resources and cost barriers associated with accessing and navigating the professional career services landscape further exacerbates the situation.
This leaves young people with little insight into the career opportunity landscape and where they might fit in the labour market. Standard Bank says it aims to increase access to high-quality career guidance and development solutions by making these solutions readily available and usable by anyone, from any background, on a single platform.
The PluggedIn platform uses advanced technology to provide a multi-lingual, mobile-friendly and personalised experience. Members gain access to engaging career assessments and the platform then recommends best-suited careers to explore. All career recommendations are centred on high-growth, in-demand careers of which many young people may not be aware. Career information is filled with rich insights – with the aim of closing the gap between career expectation and career reality.
“PluggedIn is a platform designed to plug youth into the right career and gear them up to land their dream career,” says Funeka Montjane, group chief executive of consumer and high net worth at Standard Bank. “Youth will gain access to excellent tools and career support services to help them achieve their goals. They can sign up on PluggedIn for free and let the platform guide them to career success. We will continue to look at cool things to plug you into.”
Membership is free and also gives access to a curated list of free, certified skills development courses from reputable training providers to increase their chances of employment. PluggedIn also offers tools such as an innovative CV builder that is user-guided, auto-generated and optimally designed for recruiters. This is still a major issue for young people as they struggle to put an attractive CV together. Members can explore the tertiary, bursary, and jobs landscape through explorer tools. PluggedIn also assists Grade 9 learners with subject choice, exploration and selection, which goes to the very root of a young person’s career journey.
“Through PluggedIn, we hope to address three main areas of improvement,” says Lungisa Fuzile, chief executive of Standard Bank South Africa. “These are accessibility, inclusion, and empowerment. We want to ensure all youth have access to career guidance, resources, and the self-knowledge needed to make better career choices. By including youth from any background on the platform, we hope to give every person an equal opportunity to realise their dreams. Finally, we want to inspire confidence and encourage the behaviour needed to drive South Africa’s economy and society forward.”