MultiChoice Talent Factory: When the young matter

The value of young professionals grows with each day, since every part of the economy needs a growing pool of well-trained, energetic and creative new talent, made up of people who can fuel the growth of the whole economy and who have ideas, innovations and socially relevant concepts to offer.

While the developed world is seeing a trend of an ageing population and declining birth rates, developing countries have populations in which up to 70% are under the age of 30.

Key to these countries’ future success will be the creation of economically active and successful young people, so all efforts at training and development are crucial to this outcome.

Public and private sectors must invest in these young people, so that high levels of education, training and skills development become the foundation of nation-building that will drive economic growth and development.

The value of young professionals grows with each day, since every part of the economy needs a growing pool of well-trained, energetic and creative new talent, made up of people who can fuel the growth of the whole economy and who have ideas, innovations and socially relevant concepts to offer.

In many countries, Zimbabwe included, programmes are being created to accelerate this development of young people. In East Africa, the Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project 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 that supports youth empowerment.

The private sector is increasingly called on to power such development through massive investment in initiatives and programmes that will help, since the task is huge. The large number of unemployed young people across the continent is a major threat and this problem will have to be resolved if progress is to be assured.

In what is known as the creative sector, the requirement is as big as in any other sector. The pan-African broadcasting group MultiChoice Africa has taken on the responsibility of helping to develop its own sector and has created the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) initiative as a cornerstone project.

Three MTF academies have been established: one in Lusaka to serve Southern Africa and others in Nairobi for East Africa and Lagos for West Africa. At all three establishments, work is well underway to create a major pool of talent for the sector these young people will enter and serve to meet present and future television needs.

MTF academies offer year-long training programmes to students from a number of countries, combining practical and theory-based learning, as well as the study of disciplines such as cinematography, editing, audio production and storytelling. They also offer African students the unique chance to hone their skills alongside industry greats.

MTF has already 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 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, Zambezi Magic, Mzansi Magic and many other owned local African channels.

Thirty independent production houses have been registered by former MTF students, many becoming suppliers to the MultiChoice group.

In each of the five academy years to date, there have been at least two Zimbabwean students among the Lusaka academy’s number, and these Zimbabweans have found the academy a viable and vital route to success and involvement.

Rutendo Mahofa, who was among the first group of MTF Southern Africa academy class students when the initiative was launched in 2018, has seen her career go from strength to strength.

She spent a month in Rwanda working on the production of Kigali 21, a full-length feature film, and also worked in Zambia on the production of the popular shows Ehe! It’s A Match!, Mom vs Wife, and Hoot, Cook, Go! for the Honey Africa network.

Back home in Zimbabwe, she was part of the team that produced the HIV-awareness show Yes, I Have HIV, also for Honey. She was also assistant director on the short film Miss Understood.

And most recently, Marvellous Matswimbo was one of 19 students who entered the academy in January last year and graduated last November with flying colours.

In addition to 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.

MultiChoice has also invested millions of dollars in preferential procurement spend as well as in direct spend on medium and micro-enterprises and in spend on suppliers with ownership by women or on black-empowerment accredited suppliers.

Such economic benefits form part of the MultiChoice drive to facilitate youth empowerment within the creative industry, creating opportunities that lead to quality content for MultiChoice audiences and which 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. — Own Correspondent.

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