Disruption, the non-committal route millennials have chosen when it comes to career mapping and, the changing face of work as we knew it paired with more recently, the Coronavirus, have caused many industries to readjust the way they work. Youth development lab Lucha Lunako together with gig technology and training company M4Jam have teamed up to help young people countrywide find training opportunities and work. Beginning with around 100 unemployed youth, this collaboration creates a development and support ecosystem that can provide meaningful income for those who have all but lost hope of securing formal employment.
This project is testament to adopting an agile and adaptable stance in a changing environment in order to meet the needs of job seekers and employers alike. This is also particularly true for job seekers who have fought countless personal battles from financial hurdles to broken homes which have all created stumbling blocks to personal success.
Alana Bond, Co-founder of Lucha Lunako, says what M4Jam seeks to do in building careers of young people in South Africa is one of the key building blocks in young people’s development and fits neatly with the vision of her organisation: “A world where youth use their agency and skills to access sustainable and decent work, with the ability to build aspirational careers. We believe young people need to have the basic mental, emotional, psychosocial and competency tools to transcend the often-traumatic conditions of their upbringings. Young people with these strong foundations are able to develop themselves into active citizens who participate in the economic activities of a nation, which also contributes to addressing the issues of poverty and inequality.”
“We have been familiar with M4Jam for a few years and followed their journey. When we needed to conduct a survey among the country’s youth to find out how the Covid-19 pandemic was affecting them, M4Jam’s digital platform seemed like an obvious choice – we know their business model and that they have an extensive database of young people.
“As an ecosystem convenor, we hope to play an important role as facilitator for M4Jam to extend work opportunities into the pool of young people our partner organisations deal with, so we see a lot of strategic synergy in sharing resources with M4Jam,” Bond says.
The two organisations are currently engaging to align future campaigns that will help alleviate the impact of Covid-19 on employment and work opportunities for young people, which will be available to both South African nationals and youth who are not citizens.
Lucha Lunako implements youth development initiatives by focusing on foundation building and creating linkages that enable young people to become economically active and build careers, through collaboration partners. The alignment of values and the opportunity to address poverty and inequality through an engagement with M4Jam was clear from the outset.
“While many young people in South Africa may not know the term ‘gig economy’, they all know what a ‘hustle’ is, and that’s what we are offering – part-time and short-term work contracts that can provide income in a flexible way,” says Georgie Midgley, M4Jam’s CEO.
M4Jam is a digital networking platform which brings together companies that need tasks like market research completed and “jobbers” who are trained to complete these tasks for various incentives – including hard cash. All jobbers need to sign up and be included in M4Jam’s database of available jobbers is a feature phone and time to complete micro-tasks. Some tasks can be completed in just minutes.
“While M4Jam allows people to bring in income over and above other sources, we have found that many young people in particular have come to rely upon tasks from the M4Jam platform for income in what is obviously an extremely challenging time in our economy,” says Midgley.
Jobbers not only gain opportunities to be called upon to complete tasks, such as plotting routes to market for consumer goods companies, but they also receive training each time they are assigned to a project.
“Over time, jobbers end up acquiring new skills at no cost to them, which ultimately makes them more valuable in the workplace should they enter the formal workplace,” she adds.
“Both M4Jam and Lucha Lunako literally exist for the sole purpose of helping the unemployed and under-employed, so we foresee a long and fruitful partnership in solving the pressing question of ‘where can I find a job?’ for as many young people as possible,” says Midgley.
“Our partner youth development organisations are very excited about the prospects of not only providing earning opportunities but in maintaining the dignity of the country’s youth, who have struggled against hopelessness. This is a real ray of light for many,” concludes Bond.