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Econet Unveils Youth Empowerment Initiative

Econet Unveils Youth Empowerment Initiative
Zimbabwe's largest mobile network operator Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (Econet) yesterday unveiled a youth empowerment initiative, Elevate Virtual Agent Programme (Evap), which is expected to create 25 000 jobs in the first year.

Evap is under the Elevate Club, a youth empowerment initiative supported by the Econet Group, and has targets for members to earn up to $600 per month.

The target age group is youth of between the ages of 16 and 24.

Boasting of over 10 million subscribers, most of whom are youths, Econet conducted research for the project that is expected to change the lives of many, Econet chief operating officer  Fayaz King told a breakfast meeting in the capital yesterday.

"You have the opportunity, through this offer, to position yourself to learn a skill, earn some cash and really begin to pursue your dreams", he said.

The initiative will start with a call centrer for Econet products and then spread to other corporates in Zimbabwe and then beyond the country's borders with a target to serve major global entities liked the United Nations, Econet said.

Evap programme manager Jonathan Neshana, said members can become virtual call centre agents and earn up to $600 per month working from home.

"The offer is quite simple, but intriguing. Once you register as an Elevate Club member you become eligible to become an Elevate Virtual Agent and thereafter you literally are on your way to potentially becoming your Own Boss," Mr Neshana said.

"You have a chance to earn your own income while you work from the comfort of your home and you basically set your own working hours and dictate how much money you make every month.

"The more you work, the more you hustle, the more you earn," said Mr Neshana. "The model rewards you according to the effort you put in".

Mr Neshana said a Virtual Agent would provide call centre support telephonically and offer customer service, or tech support, wherever one wanted to work from.

He said applications for Virtual Agents were open to all Elevate Club registered members.

"But you need to first apply online and complete the online application form.  Feedback is given directly to applicants on the status of their application before moving to the next stage," said Mr Neshana.

He went further to explain the various triggers in the process to become a Virtual Agent.

"For the Elevate team to start reviewing the applications, Elevate customers should accrue 5000 points – the equivalent of airtime recharges worth $50. And the airtime could be purchased using any recharge method: a physical recharge, EcoCash or any electronic airtime recharging method," Mr Neshana explained.

"For every $1 recharge, you get 100 points, and anything that gives you a positive balance in your airtime account is counted as a recharge and earns you points, except Airtime Credit.

"A selection process of the applicants then kicks in. Those who are accepted into the programme are required to redeem their points — all 5000 of them — in order for them to get access to the Elevate Virtual Agent online training programme. A series of tests are given and once you pass, your job is guaranteed" he said.

Journalists quizzed Econet about the cost of accessing the service given that most youths remain unemployed and perhaps unable to spend $50 airtime easily.

"We don't expect anybody to pop up with $50 in a day, you can reach it in one month or two, even three months. Even with one point you can apply but you will receive course material after reaching the 5 000 points," Econet chief marketing officer Mr Navdeep Kapur said.

Course content is given and covered in a period of at least three weeks after which exams will be conducted and only applicants with a score of at least 90 percent will qualify for three-day induction before they are released into the market.

The Elevate Club was launched in June of this year as youth empowerment programme designed to equip and train young people with different job and entrepreneurial skills and to create opportunities for on-going mentorship support for young people in various fields.

In the three months since launch, over 400 000 eligible young people between the ages of 16 and 34 years have signed up to the youth empowerment club.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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