Adjoa Ayivor

Shadow Careers

What does your company do?

Shadow Careers is a unique and innovative job creation initiative through impact sourcing created by 3 like-hearted Global Business Services (GBS) industry experts in response to the high youth unemployment in South Africa. Our mission is to create sustainable human-centric careers that enable people to help others. With a focus on the rapidly growing GBS sector in South Africa to maximise impact for excluded youth (represent a home where no-one earns more than R6000, or a recipient of a social grant or attended an underserved school classified as quintile 1, 2,or 3) who have never had formal employment. Deep GBS industry experience is at the heart of this initiative. Through this, Shadow has been able to engage directly with its 15 GBS partners and their clients, creating international advocacy for the additional new entrant resource pool. As a result of the trust built, this solution is being incorporated into GBS's resource planning as a viable and reliable approach that has produced incredible results, exceeding expectations. What makes us unique is that we develop and empower young people through our 12-week role readiness programme, and only recruit the number of students for whom we have permanent career opportunities. The 12 week programme is holistic, with 4 weeks being devoted to building on the self, in addition to skills they need for an international call centre environment. Shadow Careers is a national job creation initiative with training centres in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town and Durban in KwaZulu-Natal. Shadow is breaking barriers by providing easy access to learning opportunities directly linked to a a career within marginalised and excluded communities.The career creation centres provide the students with a supportive environment where they can develop skills and resilience for their first jobs. Key highlights of Shadow Careers’ successes to date: • Graduation rate: 95% • Graduate employment placement rate: 99% • Total permanent jobs created: 1232 • Female job creation rate: > 60% • Number of employment partners: 15 • Number of geographies: 2 (Cape Town and Durban with plans to expand to Johannesburg in 2025) • Number of training rooms: 13 (260 seats) Awards & recognition 2023 BPESA Awards : National Top Non-Technical Innovation Top Impact Sourcing Partner Top BPeSA Future Skills Platform Adopter 2023 CapeBPO Awards : Regional Top Non-Technical Innovation Top Impact Sourcing Partner 2022 BPESA Awards : National Top Non-Technical Innovation Finalist Top BPeSA Future Skills Platform Adopter Demand led impact sourcing programmes such as Shadow Careers are necessary to increase talent readiness and employability. This helps young people in South Africa to realise their full potential sooner and enables businesses to grow and service their customers with confidence.

What is your biggest success?

Our greatest achievement has been to see the initiative come alive through the young people who have been placed in permanent positions with some being promoted. When we started we were told that it was impossible to bring excluded youth with no work experience and get them ready in just 3 months for a GBS role. For our first 2 years we only had 2 clients. Now we have 15 clients and they use this initiative as a differentiator for their UK and US clients who become supporters of the initiative. Our young people are not only getting new jobs but they are going into the employing partners and after 6 months becoming top performers, positively impacting organisational culture, and demonstrating good metrics from a sickness and absence, employee retention. The transformation is quite phenomenal and shows that real change can be made when support is provided intentionally in the right way.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

South Africa currently has multiple skills initiatives which are not demand led (ie linked to an actual Permanent role) but are incentivised via various means. Our innovative demand led, programme is role readiness programme which is focussed making sure the young person is fully prepared for their role through active continuous improvement and a link to the employer. This agility and desire to bring young people into permanent jobs in 12 weeks, means that we are not an accredited programme, this means that we fall outside normal funding mechanisms. Our biggest challenge in spite of our excellent results, is access to funding.