The Liquid Telecom and ORT SA YES Program Tackles Youth Unemployment in SA

Author, Matshona Dhliwayo once said, “Today’s tears water tomorrow’s gardens.” 

One might say this adage hearkens back to the more common proverb that things get better over time, but there’s more to it than that.

In South Africa, we are plagued by a persistent pandemic of a different sort. A crisis of unemployment and a lack of education that festers like a disease at the heart of our society. 

But it’s not all bad news. We’d like to highlight how upskilling and educating the youth can change lives and begin to bring an end to this issue. 

The Liquid Telecom YES (Youth Unemployment Services) Program

Picture taken at the ORT SA Liquid Telecom YES ProgramThe Liquid Telecom YES program, in collaboration with ORT SA, started on the 28th of February 2020 and will be ending on the 28th of February 2021. The purpose of the program was to uplift 32 young individuals by teaching them Office Administration and computer literacy skills. The program faced numerous setbacks due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, but the outcome was still an overwhelming success. 

The program consisted of one year of work experience where the youth were placed in schools where they underwent Google Computer Science Facilitation and learned about Office Administration amongst other workplace roles.

During the course of the program, the young participants were exposed to a wide array of courses including Microsoft Office skills, Work Readiness skills, Introduction to Coding and the internationally recognised IT Essentials by Cisco course. All of these courses were designed not only to educate participants but also to prepare them to work in today’s fast-paced technological workplace.

What People Had to Say About the Program

Omphemetse Neethline Khuduge, one of the beneficiaries, had this to say about her experience: “The Liquid Telecom project has changed me a lot. I have become more of [sic] a different person than I was two years back. I obtained knowledge that will help me as an IT Technician.”

When asked about the project results thus far, Junior Project Manager at ORT SA Rivario Abrahams had this to say: “Firstly, this project has changed the youth’s thinking ability and I feel that they have gained a lot of knowledge in the twelve months of this program. Some of them have learned to invest their money, and others have opened their small businesses. It was a great experience managing the project and the youth.”


In the same way, uneducation and employment can be thought of as a pandemic eating away at our country, we also have a “vaccine” against it. We need to uplift and equip young people with the skills they need to take control of their own lives and work towards a better tomorrow.

By Milani Falitenjwa