DATE POSTED | 12 Feb 2020

What is a Cadetship?

“Leadership, like swimming, cannot be learned by reading about it.” – Management guru Henry Mintzberg.

A cadetship is a form of training programme that combines practical on-the-job experience and formal, facilitated training. A cadetship differs from apprenticeships, traineeships or internships in that they are focused on high level qualifications and take between twenty-four months and three years to complete. Candidates on cadetships are employed full time on fixed-term contracts for the duration of their cadetships, while studying takes place part time, and is supported by the host company. While often associated with military training, a cadet program can take place in any industry, and will be intensively focused on a specific area of training within that industry. KLM Empowered has aligned cadetships to Learnership implementation and articulation.

Why are Cadet Programmes Great?

The purpose of education is to acquire skills or knowledge that can be applied to add value in some aspect of society; and in return, the individual or groups applying this knowledge gain something from its application in a variety of forms such as financial reward, opportunity and influence.

Theoretical knowledge cannot stand alone, however. Experiential learning is where people become empowered and confident. Famous philosopher and teacher Aristotle said, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” Countless studies support that people become adept in skills or knowledge by practically applying them. As cadetships hero practical work experience, candidates of these programmes become empowered to expand their own lives and careers by gaining the invaluable confidence and experience that comes with being employed, and from gaining knowledge through the qualifications offered. Cadet programs are intended to create and sustain employment, therefore transforming the lives of individuals, communities and societies at large. The fixed-term contracts of employment supported by a cadetship further assists candidates with being able to support themselves as they learn through the stipends paid.

Learning to manage full time working responsibilities, while undertaking part-time study primes candidates with a growth mindset for continuous study throughout one’s career. Through complete immersion in an aspect of industry by focusing on a specific area, full time for 2 to 3 years, candidates are able to gain a deep understanding of their field and are geared towards become experts upon graduation.

Accenture’s EmployAbility Cadet Programme

Accenture is a multinational professional services company. By combining industry knowledge, tech expertise, and a culture of innovation, Accenture is a leader in providing strategy, digital and consulting services to assist business in remaining innovative and agile through the post-digital age. As catalysts of transformation, Accenture South Africa has partnered with KLM Empowered to design a cadet programme that could create employment opportunities and empowerment for persons living with a disability in South Africa. The EmployAbility Cadet Programme creates meaningful career opportunities for people with disabilities within the Information and Communications Technology sector (ICT) or broader spectrum. This is a three year programme, first launched in December 2016. The first round of candidates all successfully graduated in December 2019. Candidates obtain a grounding in theoretical skills as well as imperative practical on-the- job experience that equips Cadets with a holistic set of tools for navigating the fourth industrial revolution. Graduates of the cadetship now hold the FETC Project Management (NQF4) qualification, advanced National Diploma Project Management (NQF5), as well as a National Certificate in Information Technology Systems Development (NQF5).

Inclusion and Diversity is front-of-mind at both Accenture and KLM Empowered. As both companies invest in equipping individuals and collectives with the knowledge and confidence to become effective contributors and leaders, a Cadet programme was a good strategy to make a meaningful impact in the arena of I&D.

At KLM Empowered, we are firm believers in the importance of practical application of knowledge gained within a conducive working environment in view of generating leaders and creating opportunities. Developing a Cadetship programme has been a tremendous feat in carrying out our philosophy, particularly by supporting inclusion and diversity,says CEO of KLM Empowered, Lyn Mansour.

To learn more about the EmployAbility Cadetship, contact


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