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IT jobs for young underprivileged people

Setting up an holistic IT training programme in Johannesburg

Located in a poor neighborhood of Johannesburg, the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre (Sci-Bono) is South Africa’s flagship science centre and the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sci-Bono is developing a training programme for two cohorts for 3 years to enable them to get a job in the IT sector or to enroll in further academic studies. The target beneficiaries are youth coming from very underprivileged backgrounds.

Testimonials from Air Liquide employees involved in the project

Youth unemployment and structural inequalities

South Africa has one of highest youth unemployment rates in the world. According to the OECD, one in two young people in the labour market is unemployed and nearly one in three young people is neither in employment, nor in education or training. The root causes lie in poor quality of education, racial segregation and poverty that are particularly affecting underprivileged youngsters. One of the consequences identified by Sci-Bono is the difficulty to get hired in the IT jobs due to lack of youth skilled labor. To bridge this gap, the project targets underprivileged young people with no access to technological resources and especially female students with strong motivation. 

In 2015, one in two young people in the labour market is unemployed and nearly one in three young people is neither in employment, nor in education or training (OECD, 2015)

Professional integration in the IT sector 

The aim of Sci-Bono’s programmes is to provide to youth from underprivileged backgrounds around Johannesburg, valuable sought-after skills and qualifications to be integrated in the IT market. The program aims to build bridges between job seekers and companies to tackle recruitment difficulties due to a lack of adequate training and skills.

An immersive and challenging training

For 2022-2023, the Air Liquide Foundation is renewing its support for Sci-Bono by accompanying the second class of 100 young people in the program, i.e. two groups of 50 students.

In 2021, the Sci Bono’s training programme consisted of training a first cohort of 26 young people and integrating them into entry-level jobs such as Customer Service Agents and Help Desk Support Agents as well as Network Technicians.

This programme based on methodology and toolkits from (network of social digital factories) shall last 27 weeks and lead to recognised job certifications. If the pilot phase is successful, training for IT jobs such as web development or cyber analyst will be developed on a similar model to reach out at least 200 young people over 3 years.

The training will roll out as bootcamp, where students are placed in a high pressurized, fast-paced environment. The aim hereof is to simulate a typical IT support, working environment as part of preparing students for employment. The technical training is supplemented with essential Life Skills Workshops such as goal setting and motivation, financial literacy, job readiness. In addition, students will be prepared for the workplace through additional training, support and mentorship to maximise job placement opportunities. Mentors will be recruited from Air Liquide Pty, Sci-Bono partners and other industry professionals. Total Pty is also a partner in this project.

21 young people from the first cohort in employment

100 additional young people trained over two years

What the Air Liquide Foundation is doing

The Foundation is covering the costs for the student selection, training fees and work placement fees. The foundation also connects with local Air Liquide teams so they can be engaged in Sci Bono’s mentorship, workshops, girl learner programs, sciences career focus week and charity events.


"Air Liquide’s Foundation interest is to create a program of inclusion of underprivileged youths and prepare them for inclusion into the workplace. The empowerment of youth in South Africa by inclusion into the workplace will be a one of it’s kind projects with positive outcomes."

Diamantina Messaris, Project monitor, Talent Manager, Africa Zone