CareerBox acts as CCI’s recruitment platform, providing skilled agents. Before we talk to Lizelle, here are a few CareerBox stats:
- Sources almost all of CCI South Africa’s workforce.
- Free training programmes and structured progression is offered to candidates.
- Offer opportunities to previous disadvantaged young people in South Africa.
- Will launch across Soweto, Johannesburg and Nairobi, Kenya later in 2020.
- Trained more than 35,000 young people so far.
- Placement rate of more than 80% within the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and contact centre sector.
- Successfully placed more than 28,000 young South Africans into permanent, sustainable jobs.
We asked CareerBox MD Lizelle Strydom all about the recruitment platform…
Q: How long have you been with the company?
LS: I’ve worked for the CCI Group for 16 years and when the opportunity came up to lead CareerBox in 2013 I jumped at the chance. We are tackling a systemic problem in South Africa where unemployment levels are high. But each year we are making progress and helping more young people find a career.
Q: How does CareerBox fit in with the CCI Group?
LS: CareerBox is a Non-Profit Organisation and is a separate business entity. But we are part of the CCI Group. We provide all of CCI South Africa’s entry level contact staff, who all go through our training and development before they start work. But we also work with other organisations too.
Q: Where did the idea for CareerBox come from?
LS: CareerBox was set up to tackle one of the biggest challenges faced by disadvantaged South Africans – unemployment. Seven years ago, it became clear that there was a large skills gap for South Africans without many opportunities. It was next to impossible for many of young people with no higher education qualifications to get any kind of job, let alone one that offers a career.
So CareerBox was formed to bridge this gap and help disadvantaged young people in South Africa gain the skills they need and land an entry level role. Contact centres and business process operators throughout South Africa have increased in number over the last few years and we wanted to help South Africans reach their potential. They just need the resources to upskill so they’re ready for the corporate workplace. And that’s what CareerBox provides.
Q: What kind of training is available at CareerBox?
LS: We offer free training programmes for South Africans who want to work in the corporate environment. When they’re trained in the skills necessary, we place them in jobs with CCI and other partners. They then have the opportunity for advancement and a long-term career. Seven years into our journey, our biggest client is CCI Group, but we’re actively engaged with other businesses to partner with CareerBox.
We tailor the training based on the company’s requirements. So, if it’s for a contact centre agent who will represent a business based in the UK, we include specific cultural guidance. This all helps the candidates arrive for their new role full of energy and enthusiasm. They already understand what’s expected of them and are keen to prove themselves and make a career out of this opportunity. This all drives performance and provides the business with excellent entry level staff.
Q: How do you find your candidates?
LS: While we use the traditional methods of recruiting and post adverts on local platforms, our most successful way of finding candidates is through word of mouth. Most of our applicants come from local communities and are inspired by the transformation of people around them who have already applied to CareerBox. They want the same opportunities.
Q: How do you select candidates for the CareerBox training?
LS: Everyone is assessed by one of our recruiters. We look at current skills and then suggest appropriate roles after the complete the training. All of the CCI Group entry level posts come through CareerBox. We can’t always guarantee jobs but we have a placement rate of more than 80%, which I’m really proud of.
Q: What are the benefits of CareerBox’s approach for candidates and businesses?
LS: For candidates, CareerBox offers more than just free training. It’s a real chance for them to develop their skills and bring them closer to finding a job, whether it’s in the contact centre industry or not.
And for businesses, I think it’s a no-brainer. Companies like CCI South Africa know that their entry level employees are already work-ready and enthusiastic. They’ve had the training and they understand what’s expected of them. We find they’re keen, eager and confident to show that they can build a career.
Q: Why do you think CareerBox is so important to South Africa?
LS: South Africa’s unemployment rate is not changing, and we are still far away from bridging the gap for disadvantaged young people. For those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, it’s extremely difficult to access fair job opportunities. At CareerBox, we step in and offer that link. We focus on young people, women and Education. And we believe that if we can make changes to a small percentage of people in South Africa, it will have a knock-on impact on the economy and country as a whole.
Q: Why do you think CareerBox is so successful?
LS: I’m passionate about giving so many South Africans an opportunity. We help those who were previously excluded from these kinds of opportunities and help them to write their own story and become a role model for people around them. And I think this is why we’re so successful – we can help candidates and businesses alike. It’s a win/win situation for South Africa.
Q: What does the future look like for CareerBox?
LS: We will expand our client base and be able to offer more job opportunities. This will result in expanding our footprint into other regions. We are also working on partnering other organisations who share our mission and ethos.