Tuesday, April 23, 2024

MultiChoice develops young professionals for future success

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As global populations age, Africa remains a bastion of youthful promise, with around 70% of the continent’s population below the age of 30. This youthful demographic can be an asset – but only if it is developed, by empowering young people through training, and by giving them a stake in the growth of their countries’ economies.

Helping to develop young people’s abilities and expanding the pool of skills is also in the interests of industry and big business. Skills drive economies.

In line with this need to invest in people, is an understanding of the value of young professionals. Every industry needs a pipeline of well-trained, energetic and creative new talent, who can fuel the next phase of that sector’s growth, with ideas, innovations and fresh, socially relevant concepts.

In Kenya, for example, the Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP) is geared to improving youth employability, creating jobs, and enhancing labour-market knowledge through training, internships and apprenticeships. In Ghana, the National Youth Authority exists to create an environment to support frontline youth empowerment.

However, unlocking private-sector investment in youth development remains critical, and there is a more specific need for industry-specific interventions. At the same time – with 72 million young Africans unemployed – the task of upskilling and empowering the youth is enormous.

This is especially true in the creative sector. Here, pan-African broadcasting group MultiChoice has taken on the responsibility of developing its own sector, through its MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) academies across the continent.

MTF academies offer year-long training programmes to students from 13 countries, combining practical and theory instruction in disciplines such as cinematography, editing, audio production and storytelling. They also offer African students the chance to hone their skills alongside industry greats.

MTF has had a profound impact across Africa, having already produced more than 300 alumni. The programme is revolutionising the industry by training young filmmakers; creating paths to professional careers in the film and TV sector; and empowering African professionals to create relevant content for African audiences.

An MTF survey has found that around 92% of MTF Academy graduates go on to work in the creative sector. As part of their training, many MTF students get to work on existing productions on MultiChoice channels such as Africa Magic, Maisha Africa or Mzansi Magic.

Besides the MTF Academies, which provide intensive, year-long training, the MTF Portal focuses on enhancing the capabilities of working industry professionals, through specialised training, workshops, collaborations and networking opportunities.

This industry integration has twin benefits of providing the creative sector with a healthy pipeline of talented young people, while also giving MTF graduates relevant experience.

Hundreds of MTF alumni have found employment within MultiChoice, and 30 independent production houses have been registered by former MTF students, many becoming suppliers to the Group.

MultiChoice Africa contributes significantly to the broader African economy through procurement and supplier development with emerging and youth-owned businesses. MultiChoice has invested R12 billion in preferential procurement spend; R2.6 billion in direct spend on medium and micro-enterprises; R2 billion spent on suppliers with at least 30% women ownership; and R7.7 billion on black-empowerment accredited suppliers.

Such economic benefits form part of the MultiChoice continuum of youth empowerment – creating opportunities which lead to quality content for MultiChoice audiences and ultimately benefit local economies across the continent.

MultiChoice reaches 23,5 million households, and more than 100 million people, in 50 African countries. Quality African storytelling has been the key to its success. Developing well trained, empowered young people through the MTF will be the key to that success in future.

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