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Partnership boosts tech skills for city youth

Friday, 15 July 2016 10:06
Partnership boosts tech skills for city youth
Minister Winde watches on as Keanu Arendze and Rossouw
Binedell demonstrate one of their innovations.

A group of young people from the Western Cape have a bright future in the tech industry, after starting internships at some of the region’s biggest companies.

Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, today (6 July 2016) conducted a site visit to one of the host companies participating in the Java Schools Programme.

It is a joint initiative between the Western Cape Departments of Economic Development and Tourism, Education, IT software company, Oracle, Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative and training provider, On The Ball College.

Minister Winde visited Absa’s Digital Development Office, Absa’s development centre, where ten participants are obtaining workplace experience as intern software developers.

“We partnered with Oracle in 2014 to train 160 Grade 11 and 12 learners in the Java programming language. This year, 40 of the top-performing matriculants were selected for further training in Advanced Java through Oracle University. They will also be completing a six-month programme through the Media, Information & Communication Technologies Sector Education & Training Authority (MICT SETA.)”

Minister Winde said skills development was an important focus area for the Western Cape Government.

“Jobs and growth are our top priorities and we are making some good progress. In 2015, the Western Cape was the country’s fastest-growing job-creating region. Through our Project Khulisa growth strategy, we are seeking to build on this momentum. We have to make sure young people have the skills they need to take advantage of increased economic opportuniites. I’d like to commend the participating host companies for playing such a key role in shaping the future leaders of our economy.”

The interns are placed at the following host companies:

  • DVT
  • Barclays Africa Group - Absa
  • CSG International
  • OptiSolutions
  • Old Mutual Finance
  • Realm Digital

"It’s an honour and privilege to form a part of the greater effort being spearheaded by government and industry to increase young people's chances of employment by giving them opportunities to prove themselves," says Alwyn van Wyk: Head of Development office.

“Technology and coding skills are the most important ingredient for the growth of the new economy. Cape Town is fast becoming the innovation and tech capital of Africa thanks to programmes such as CapaCiTi and the collaborative partnerships between local & regional government, business, academic institutions and cluster development enterprises such as CiTi,” says Ian Merrington CEO of the Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi.)

After completing the programme, the participants will write the test for the Oracle Certified Professional qualification. The interns discussed with Minister Winde how the programme has impacted them.

Luntu Makuvuza, matriculated from Centre Of Science And Technology (COSAT)

“My experience with this Oracle Java course is super amazing. Its unmeasurable. So far so good with my internship at ABSA. Its full of new things that I learn, although its overwhelming most times, but I’m slowly getting there as I progress with small things day by day.”

Chanell Scheffer, matriculated from Bernadino Heights Secondary School

“I am the first of four siblings to have achieved a Matric certification and also the first to have attended a higher level education. This opportunity has helped and shaped me a lot towards my future. You have truly given me the building bricks for my future and that means the world to me. So I just want to thank everyone who has made all this possible.”

Usanda Mpengesi, matriculated from COSAT

“This course has been great for me. I've grown as a person and as a developer. Am loving my stay here at Absa because am being exposed to what I need to have a solid career in the developer world.”

Michael Hamman, matriculated from Brackenfell High School

“This Oracle Course has been a tremendous advantage to me, as it has given me the opportunity to obtain further qualifications which I wouldn't have been able to, due to financial constraints. I plan to benefit as much as possible from the opportunity given to me, by using the time I have during my internship to obtain as much knowledge as humanly possible.”

Yolanda Breakfast, matriculated from COSAT

“In high school I took IT as a subject and my interest in ICT started being very important as I saw it and still see it as a field that I would build a career on. Being part of Aliens now as an intern is great, I'm learning a lot and my work experience is being strengthened.”

Amiena Latief, matriculated from Brackenfell High School

“I didn't have an exact plan for my future but I did enjoy programming and this course helped me find that it's something I want to do as a career. I didn't think I'd be able to actually start studying immediately after high school due to how expensive tertiary institutions are and my options were between work and save up or take out a student loan. The scarcity of jobs in this country was also a terrifying factor. I was extremely relieved and excited to continue with the Oracle course after high school and felt extremely lucky to be given the opportunity. I feel the company I've been placed with is also teaching me a lot. I'm also adapting to what it's like to be in the workplace and am grateful to all the people willing to help here. I'm trying to do my best and learn as much as I can.”

Rossouw Binedell, matriculated from Brackenfell High School

“I attended a course at On The Ball College and wrote my exam to get my OCA (Oracle Certified Associate). I am now an intern at an amazing company called Cowboy Aliens and working hard to make a name for myself. I am interested in programming of all different types, as well as some robotics and anything electronic really. I have always had a flair for programming (which I got from my father) and I hope to build a good career in any and all things IT.”

Keanu Arendze, matriculated from Rocklands Secondary School

“I always had a passion for Information Technology. I am glad that Oracle approached me in when i was attending school. I have always wanted to go study Information technology. This course gave me the opportunity to further my knowledge in Programming and many other aspects in my career. I enjoyed everything about this course. I have learned a lot since i came onto this course and i appreciate everything that everyone did to make it possible for me to be employed and career ready.”

Chad Williams, matriculated from COSAT

“I am very fortunate and grateful for this Oracle course as financially I was held back in many aspects. That is not the only reason I am grateful as this programme has been amazing above all aspects. As for Absa Aliens, I very much enjoy working with them. I am currently working on a game and gaming as always been a passion of mine growing up.”

Carli Kriel, matriculated from Robertson High

“From January this year I attended training provided by Oracle for four months which taught me to code in java. Since the beginning of June I've been working at Aliens, Barclays. The past few weeks has been an amazing experience and taught me so much. I hope to use this opportunity the best I can by learning as much as possible and proving myself worth the opportunity that I have been given.”


This article was published in Cape Business News on 7th July 2016:

Published in Technology