18 September 2023

Absa Group and Maharishi Invincibility Institute celebrate the second cohort's graduation and steps towards reducing youth unemployment.

Absa Group, a leading financial service provider in Africa, is proud to announce the graduation of its second cohort of 20 talented students from the Absa Cybersecurity Academy. This milestone marks not only a significant achievement for these young individuals but also highlights the essential partnership between Absa Group and Maharishi Invincibility Institute.

The Absa Cybersecurity Academy's comprehensive three-year academic curriculum encompasses formal technical education, practical hands-on experience, and intensive personal mastery and soft skills development. Established in partnership with the Maharishi Invincibility Institute in 2019, this initiative underscores Absa’s commitment to making a positive impact in the communities it serves by addressing the global skills shortage through innovative education.

In a remarkable testament to the programme’s success, the first cohort, which graduated in 2022, has been offered internships at Absa and have secured permanent placements. This not only demonstrates the Academy’s effectiveness but also its significant contribution to reducing youth unemployment in South Africa.

The importance of this partnership extends beyond the individual students, as it addresses the critical cybersecurity skills gap in South Africa and globally. According to the Fortinet 2023 Cybersecurity Skills Gap report, 40% of South African companies struggle to hire and retain cyber security talent, and 64% agree that the shortage of cyber security skills creates additional cyber risks for organisations. Through the Academy, Absa and Maharishi Invincibility Institute are actively working to bridge this gap and empower young talent.

Manoj Puri, Group Chief Security Officer at Absa Group, commented, “The graduation of these students is a significant step towards closing the skills gap in South Africa's cybersecurity field. It also reflects our commitment to providing equal education and upskilling opportunities, particularly for young women in the technology sector. I always go by the saying that somebody took a chance on you, now it is your turn to take a chance on South African youth.”

He added that, “as our economy becomes more digitally empowered, we hope these graduates will leverage their skills to drive innovation and uplift their communities.”

The Absa Cybersecurity Academy, with campuses in Johannesburg and Cape Town, prioritises conscious-based learning. It not only imparts technical knowledge but also fosters social awareness of cyber threats, encompassing both formal and informal sectors.

Taddy Blecher, CEO and Co-founder of the Maharishi Invincibility Institute, emphasised the importance of partnerships like the one with Absa: "To empower young people, partnerships such as the one we have with Absa are key. Furthermore, graduates of Absa's Cybersecurity Academy represent unlimited opportunities and potential.”

In the face of South Africa's high unemployment rate, initiatives like the Absa Cybersecurity Academy are vital for equipping young talent with valuable skills and bright career prospects.

A career in cybersecurity provides these graduates with highly sought-after skills and opportunities to work across various industries. In alignment with Absa's strategy to be a force for good in the communities it serves, the Absa Cybersecurity Academy continues to cultivate a robust cybersecurity resource pool within South Africa.

“The Absa Cybersecurity Academy empowers young talent and addresses the critical cybersecurity skills shortage, ultimately contributing to a stronger South African economy,” concludes Puri.