In a graduation ceremony hosted at the Marriott Cape Town Waterfront Breakwater Lodge today, 15 July 2022, almost 200 young Capetonians graduated after completing a CapaCiTi Digital Skills programme.
South Africa’s youth unemployment is at an alarming high of 66.5% with more than 9 million young people who are not in employment, education or training. Evolving developments in digital and ICT technologies have intensified the need for employers to source, hire and retain talent to capitalise on disruptive digitalisation opportunities.
Organisations in South Africa face the challenge of developing and maintaining multi-talented, multi-skilled workforces that meet digital workplace demands and respond well to the rapidly evolving world of work. Current demand for IT skills far outstrips supply in South Africa. Traditional pathways are not addressing this demand quickly enough, resulting in much-needed jobs being outsourced and offshored.
We need to connect the dots between in-demand skills and the underutilised youth assets that exist in South Africa by upskilling school-level educated youth with demand-driven skills initiatives. Further, research has shown that only 23% of tech jobs are held by women in South Africa. As a sector, we need to hire more women to improve diversity in the workplace as it’s been proven that higher diversity equals higher productivity and profit. Innovation and thought leadership are needed to address the gender imbalance for the betterment of the industry. Areas of significant demand growth include Cloud platforms, Software Development, Salesforce and Desktop Support Technicians.
In an effort to address the skills gap and under-representation of women in the ICT sector in Cape Town, the City of Cape Town partnered with CapaCiTi, which has trained over 200 unemployed young people in ICT skills and work readiness over the last 2 years to address the skills gap. 53% of the participants in the programme were female.
The aim of all CapaCiTi programmes is to place our graduates in meaningful work opportunities. To do this, we need to understand the market demand and understand where our youth will make the most impact. CapaCiTi created experiential programmes in Full Stack Development, SaaS, Desktop Support and Cloud Computing. We focused on practical object-oriented programming languages such as Python and Java; front-end design using HTML, CSS and Java Script; and vendor-specific platforms including AWS and Salesforce.
Our candidates learning desktop support got the opportunity to build a computer from scratch, using equipment donated through our partnership with e-waste recycler Desco. All of our graduates are offered the opportunity to complete a vendor certified exam with options including International Computer Driving License, AWS or Salesforce Certification.
In a time where entry level jobs can be challenging to secure, CapaCiTi is proud that over 80% of our graduated youth have been placed in further learning opportunities with various SMME’s and corporates. These entry level roles included software interns, junior software testers, IT Technicians and Salesforce administrators.
It’s through strong partnerships with funders like the City of Cape Town, which places youth at the forefront of the solution, that allows CapaCiTi to significantly impact the South African digital landscape and the future of our young talent.
“The City of Cape Town has been a long-standing partner of CapaCiTi, putting the youth of Cape Town at the centre of the future of our city. Together we have trained and supported over 200 youth, through what have been exceptional times. With the support received, we were able to continue training and developing young talent throughout the pandemic, often acting as a beacon of hope and support to those most in need. I am delighted that over 80% of our graduating youth today have been placed into roles in industry. Their future and opportunity in the digital economy is bright. Well done to everyone graduating today for your effort, commitment and tenacity. We have loved being part of your journey,” says Fiona Tabraham, Chief Executive of CapaCiTi.
“The City of Cape Town’s partnership with the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi, of which CapaCiTi is a part) has resulted in massive successes over the years. The City of Cape Town is not only one of the major funders to CiTi but plays a significant role non-financially as well,” says Faith Kolala, Manager: Catalytic Sectors City of Cape Town.
“We have been ensuring that an enabling environment prevails for stakeholders in the IT ecosystem, which has led to Cape Town being acknowledged as the tech capital of Africa. This has led to increased demand for young IT talent, and we are fulfilling this through partnerships such as this one. CiTi has been our strategic partner in the areas of skills development for more than 10 years now and we are witnessing the fruits of that partnership. The graduates will contribute to the success of not only the city’s economy but South Africa overall and this bodes well for the future. We are proud to be partners as we see the impact being made by CiTi through their various training programs,” he concludes.
Congratulations to the young graduates looking towards a bright future.
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More about CapaCiTi:
CapaCiTi is the Digital Accelerator of Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative. We are changing lives and building brighter futures for unemployed youth in South Africa by offering holistic training interventions through a tested, cutting-edge learning methodology and bespoke e-learning platform. CapaCiTi’s vision is to deliver technology interventions to digitally-marginalised people to catalyse economic opportunities in the digital economy.
CapaCiTi recognises that a single course will not change someone’s life career prospects. As companies recruiting new staff become more nuanced and competitive about what skills they bring in with their tech hires, CapaCiTi has responded with an emerging model that goes beyond work-readiness and seeks to set our graduates up for successful career journeys. Evidence has shown that unless we integrate work readiness, experiential learning, and behavioural competencies with our technical skills training, we won’t meet the needs of the individual or the future employer. To ensure longer-term success, CapaCiTi supports candidates to develop a toolkit of career-critical skills needed to continue learning, engage, network, solve problems and develop themselves. Our holistic approach to learning includes three elements: My Technical Self, My Professional Self and My Future Self. Candidates receive blended training at our tech campuses via an online learning platform that promotes self-learning and group work as part of a holistic programme designed to develop digitally confident candidates. Industry mentors provide teams with a business challenge and ask them to investigate a solution and present it back to their mentors weekly. These activities enhance teamwork, communication and create a culture of solution-driven design thinking.