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New graduates from Ricoh SA learnership

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Another 20 learners have graduated the Ricoh SA Learnership Programme run on behalf of Ricoh SA by CTU Training Solutions at its facilities in Boksburg, Gauteng. 

This learnership, which results in National Certificate: Information Technology: Systems Support (NQF level 5), brings the total graduates of the Ricoh SA learnerships to more than 40 in the past four years the 12-month programme has been run.

“The learnership process tackles the unemployment challenges head-on,” says Brent Nestler, learning and development manager at Ricoh SA. “One of the major challenges people face when looking for work is that, even if they have the theoretical skills, they often don’t have the experience that companies look for. The learnership consists of six months of classroom theory and practical tuition followed by a six-month stint at our company.”

CTU developed the curriculum to meet South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) national certification requirements (SAQA 48573) and also several international CompTIA and Microsoft certifications. Ricoh SA also paid for learners to sit the international exams.

Charlene Jacobs, corporate HRD consultant at CTU Training Solutions, says: “Ricoh included seven international exams for the learners and, with the workplace experience they received learning general business skills and hands-on technical work, they are at an advantage. Companies like Ricoh obviously gain BBEEE benefits, benefit from the skills levy funding, but more than that they are interested in building their workforce with the skills they need.”

“CTU has been an exemplary partner for this programme,” says Nestler. “Their curriculum is spot on and the difference is in the delivery – they pay attention to detail and assist the learners at every stage in the process as well as work closely with our own personnel who are very attached to the programme.”

Nestler adds that there is a national shortage of trained and qualified technical support personnel in the ICT industry, which is why Ricoh SA selected this particular course for learners.

There were 20 learners in the programme and all 20 achieved certification. They were all unemployed at the outset of their learnership and were initially screened by CTU.

“Their lessons began with business communication fundamentals, essentially using common business programs to communicate with colleagues,” says Louis Geldenhuys, head of department, networking at CTU. “They progressed through several more technical modules that taught them to troubleshoot and repair PC hardware, the Windows 8.1 operating system (OS) and provide user application support. They learned networking architecture fundamentals as well as installation, maintenance and support for Windows server OS.”

Learners must complete a three-week “integrative” assessment in four parts before they can graduate. This assesses their knowledge and capabilities based on every single module of the course.

Graduates were paid a monthly stipend during the programme. Ricoh SA seeks to employ or place all graduates and employed 14 of the three previous years’ 22 graduates.

Desani Moodley, learning and development officer as well as skills development facilitator (SDF) at Ricoh SA, says: “We are currently investigating whether to begin another learnership or extend this recent learnership with an internship that would extend the level of qualification to NQF level 6.”