Solutionist Thinking with RMB is a thirteen-episode podcast series hosted by Bruce Whitfield focusing on the great South African minds who are thinking differently and going against the norm. In the thirteenth and final episode, Whitfield interviews the Managing Director of Umuzi, Andrew Levy.
"We were not born equal, we will never be equal because of our past. But, what we can do is work towards giving everyone equal opportunities in order to strive to succeed and, to reach their full potential. That’s what I believe in as a South African."
As a white, Jewish man living in South Africa – Andrew Levy's motivation for leaving banking to start Umuzi came after the realisation that he was "the epitome of privilege" in a country where people who couldn't afford to keep up with the corporate requirements for placement were often left behind.
There’s a lot of young people who want to reach their full potential and, just are getting locked out of traditional spaces.— Andrew Levy, Managing Director at UMUZI
Exposure is the starting point – in a country where 6.6 million of the population are unemployed, the organisation seeks to afford young, highly-talented people opportunities they wouldn't ordinarily have had access in the traditional corporate world.
We’re leaving these amazing people behind just because they couldn’t pay for the final fees to get their certificate.— Andrew Levy, Managing Director at UMUZI
When 60% of its recruits haven’t had the funds to finish their tertiary education, a lot of talented young are being locked out of the creative industry because of a lack of paperwork.
Recruiting four times a year, the Umuzi Academy offers a free, annual learnership with 42 positions – to which over 5000 young people generally apply – to form part of a network of highly-talented people who go on to become the creative industry's top designers, copywriters, digital, and multimedia professionals.
The raw potential is there, however, we as corporate South African citizens are not doing our part to (really) take that raw potential and turn it into jobs.— Andrew Levy, Managing Director at UMUZI
Thanks to his background in banking – Levy leveraged his access to a network of banking clients to support the growth of disadvantaged youth by affording them access to their privileges.
Social capital is absolutely crucial in a society like ours.— Andrew Levy, Managing Director at UMUZI
"We just need to do our work and think, we need to research, we need to really empathise with young people that are going through this," explains Levy.
Listen to Andrew Levy in conversation with Bruce Whitfield, as they discuss white privilege, social capital and unemployment rates in South Africa in the full episode of Solutionist Thinking with RMB.
This article first appeared on 702 : Solutionist Thinking: In Conversation with Andrew Levy