The Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg saw its second batch of students graduate on Wednesday, contributing to its goal of developing 10 000 electronics engineers in Africa by 2015.
Established two years ago to fast-track African youths into the job market, the academy currently offers 240 Grade 10-12 students from eight participating technical schools and 320 students from Further Education and Training (FET) colleges with vocational skills training.
It also offers opportunities to young people who have matriculated but ended up unemployed or in menial jobs.
"Through its partnership with the National Economic Education Trust, the Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy has opened its doors to out-of-school youth who matriculated with good maths and science grades but have been unable to find suitable jobs," Samsung said in a statement.
It involves two hours of basic, intermediate and advanced training after school every week day and is supported by the University of Johannesburg, with plans to get the programme accredited and officially endorsed by the university.
'Driving the economy forward'
"South Africa is faced with an urgent need to fill the supply and demand gap that has emerged between industry's need for technical skills and the number of students that enter the job market each year possessing these skills," Samsung Africa's managing director, Maengdal Bae, said at the graduation ceremony at the Kempton Park civic centre.
"So today it is heartwarming to know that these graduates have not only been equipped with the world-class skills to build a better future for themselves, but that they will also play an integral part in driving our economy forward."
The academy also forms part of Samsung's plan to ensure its sustainability in Africa by building a skilled pool of resources and contributing to a competitive global economy.
In line with its goal to improve technical skills continent-wide, Samsung has launched its electronics engineering academies in Kenya and Nigeria too. It will be rolled out in Ethiopia and Cote DÂ’Ivoire in the course of 2013, with more in the pipeline in the next few years.
"Technical education is a cornerstone of any aspiring developing country," said dean of the engineering faculty at the University of Johannesburg, Tshilidzi Marwala.
"Through its electronics engineering academy programme, Samsung is capacitating our country's technical backbone."
Of the academy's first graduating class in 2012, Samsung reported that 100% of the students were placed in positions at its service centre, knock-down plant and call centre partners in Gauteng.
"Our ability to provide graduates with employment is only possible because of the nature of the academy programme, which is focused on preparing students for the world of work," Bae said.