Young people in South African have been among those who have been hardest hit by unemployment and deepening poverty since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rates are the highest among those aged 15-24 years, at 64,4%, and 25-34 years at 42,9%.

Youth development has taken on new urgency and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s long-awaited appointment of the new National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) board has put what he termed “the country’s drive to empower young people” in the spotlight.

Novus Holdings is passionate about contributing to the development of our youth and annually invests millions into skills development and training on employees. The spend is directed mainly at skills programmes, bursaries, learnerships and apprenticeships, as well as managerial and supervisory leadership.

Learn as you work and earn while you learn

Novus Academy, the training division of Novus Holdings, understands the challenges of employment and how difficult it is today to be ready and to enter meaningful jobs. The Novus Academy is an internationally accredited training institution that offers a range of technical, life skills, management, leadership, IT and systems courses and programmes.

248 apprentices have successfully completed their trade tests at the Novus Academy since 2011, is an FP&M Seta accredited training institution. It offers a comprehensive range of training opportunities and apprenticeships in 12 specialised areas.

Novus Academy grew out of the need to provide specialised skills to not only the organisation, but also the South African print industry.

Advantages of apprenticeships:

  • As structured training programmes, apprenticeships give you a chance to work towards a qualification and it helps you gain the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in your chosen industry.
  • It gives you great experience in the working world and show employers that you can ‘hit the ground running’. Hands-on training gives you a real chance to put your skills into practice and helps you to gain more confidence in a working environment.
  • Apprenticeships offer a varied learning experience. It’s all about learning while doing, and learning from others in your industry.

Sharing their experiences, here are a few young professionals who have completed their apprenticeships at Novus Holdings over the years:

Thatishi Makofane works as a cylinder preparation artisan at Novus Print Montague Gardens.

When did you start your apprenticeship at Novus Holdings?

  • July 2007.

In what field was your apprenticeship?

  • Cylinder preparation.

How long was your apprenticeship?

  • Three years

What did you enjoy most about being an apprentice?

  • Learning about the history of the printing industry and the evolution of the trade.

Do you feel that your apprenticeship have set you up adequately for your career?

  • Definitely.

What is your advice for young individuals applying for apprentice opportunities?

  • Research the industry you are looking to get into. That way you will know what your career trajectory will look like and the opportunities available.

Jean Prinsloo works as bindery administrator at Novus Print Montague Gardens.

When did you start your apprenticeship at Novus Holdings?

  • In 2020 after I had graduated with a Diploma in Human Resource Management.

In what field was your apprenticeship and for how long was your apprenticeship?

  • My apprenticeship was in the field of human resource management for 12 months.

What did you enjoy most about being an apprentice?

  • Coming into the printing industry for the first time ever was exciting and being able to work in your desired field in this case was very enjoyable as I did not just learn about HR but how Novus Holdings operates as a whole.

What were some of the challenges during your apprenticeship?

  • I was grateful to have a manager who had guided me and taught me well throughout my apprenticeship, therefore I can honestly say I did not face any challenges as I had the support from experienced colleagues.

Tell us about two key learnings that came out of your apprenticeship?

  • My first key learning was being able to learn new skills and how to apply them in the workplace, as well as testing out the skills that I had learned in college and seeing how they are used in the real world. My second key learning was not to be afraid to make mistakes or to fail, as it will help you learn faster, to progress and achieve your goals.

How much of what you have learned during your apprenticeship do you apply on a day-to-day basis in your current role?

  • There’s a substantial number of soft skills that everyone will learn when doing an apprenticeship. Those skills will be used daily in any role throughout my career.

Do you feel that your apprenticeship has set you up adequately for your career?

  • Yes, it has definitely provided me with valuable experience and knowledge that I will carry with me throughout my years of employment.

What is your advice for young individuals applying for apprentice opportunities?

  • It is a great way to gain experience and to take that first step of becoming employed after graduating. It also provides you with a broader perspective of whether the field you have chosen is a perfect fit for you.

Grant Theunissen works as Marketing Officer at PDC.

When did you start your internship at Novus Holdings?

  •  I started my internship at Novus Holdings in March 2018.

In what field was your internship?

  • My internship was in the field of marketing and communications.

What did you enjoy most about being an intern?

  • As someone who never had passed experience as a writer and being fairly new out of varsity, I quite enjoyed the drafting and editing of communications. I became better and better with each try under the guidance of my mentors at Novus Holdings.

Elaborate on two key learnings that came out of your internship?

  • How to communicate appropriately within the workplace and never being scared to ask for help when struggling with a certain task.

How much of what you have learned during your internship do you apply on a day-to-day basis in your current role?

  • There is so much that working at Novus Holdings has taught me. So many of the skills that I was taught at the company, I am still using and applying every single day. 

Do you feel that your internship has set you up adequately for your career?

  • Doing my internship at a company as big and exciting as Novus Holdings has opened so many doors for me, especially in the print and media industries. I am grateful for the time I spent working at Novus Holdings because of the skills that my colleagues have taught me.

What is your advice for young individuals applying for internship opportunities?

  • An internship is so much more than just an internship. It’s becoming part of a family. An opportunity to learn skillsets that you will be using for the rest of your life. At Novus Holdings, I was fortunate enough to have mentors that genuinely cared that I succeeded. Apply for as many internships as possible before starting off your career after graduating as it’s the best way to ensure that you are ready to take on the working world.