Season 4 Episode 6: De-constructing Training For Work: Maryana Iskander, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator

If the age of permanent work is over, should we start talking about ‘trampoline careers’ instead?  This week, we talk to a Learning Influencer at the eye of the storm of just that very trend. Born in Egypt but educated in both the US and Europe, that’s Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator‘s CEO, Maryana Iskander, is now based in Johannesburg. To use her word, ‘privileged’ to have exposure to both the private, public and now social enterprise sides of the world of work, in this episode my ‘Learning 4 Good’ mini-season co-curator Lutz Ziob works with Maryana to understand how she sees many of the core issues in modern Workplace Learning, including:

  • the value of a personal ‘board of Directors’ to mentor a professional
  • Harambee’s roots, why it does what it does, and why a combination of the human and technology has been best to do it
  • the problem of the mis-match between traditional education pathways and traditional employment structures in South Africa (but is actually increasingly global)
  • why young people have to change – but so do policymakers and employers
  • how help with social skills and guidance is sometimes more important than brushing up a young person’s Math for a job application
  • insights into a very useful HR tool, the Harambee Youth Employment Map
  • why giving young women some weight-training overcame a hidden barrier to entry changed an 8% job offer to rate to 77%
  • South Africa’s emerging role as a global employment source
  • and much more. Enjoy!


Maryana is happy for people to connect with Harambee Employability Map on all the social media channels, including Instagram and Facebook. The main Harambee web site also links to her blog and its growing range of research and tools, including its Youth Employment Map.

She also suggests anyone interested in the themes discussed in this episode checks out Ann Mei Chang and Eric Ries’s important 2018 book, Lean Impact: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good.

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