Global IT services and consulting company T-Systems will launch the new phase of its training programme at its information and communication technology (ICT) Academy in January next year.
“ICT skills are lacking in the country. There is a definite gap in the market, and we are working towards closing that gap,” says ICT Academy head Malena van der Westhuizen.
T-Systems is in the process of putting a business strategy together, focusing on training for previously disadvantaged individuals who do not have the financial means to study, and will also integrate corporate training into the services it offers.
“Corporate training will generate income to enable the academy to be less dependent on partner donations for funding,” she notes.
Van der Westhuizen adds that new black economic-empowerment (BEE) codes released this year, although not yet gazetted, state that ICT socioeconomic development components need to be commercialised.
“We are in the process of incorporating those policies into the Academy,” she notes.
Van der Westhuizen explains that there are ten members of staff from T-Systems working at the ICT Academy and that at any given stage roughly 160 people attend training at the academy.
The ICT Academy curriculum com- prises 70% theoretical training and 30% learnership or workplace practical train- ing where the students are placed at various ICT organisations throughout the country.
“The courses on offer are one year, and are national qualification framework (NQF) aligned and registered with the Media Information and Communication Technologies Sector and Training Authority (MICT) Seta,” says Van der Westhuizen, adding that programme funding comes from T-Systems and its various partners.
“The company provides financial support and scores points from a social economic-development perspective on the BEE score card and, because our pro- grammes are registered with MICT Seta, we get 75% of our funding back. This allows us to give stipends to students,” she notes, adding that partners donate what they can, whether it is financial funding, text books or their times as lecturers.
T-Systems, Van der Westhuizen says, is committed to achieving long-term sustainable growth in South Africa.
“We are aligned with areas of the National Development Plan (NDP) that highlight increased employment; our internship and enterprise development programme falls under that specific category. We also strive to improve the quality of education in South Africa,” she notes.
Van der Westhuizen states that T-Systems believes that it is important to bring education to everyone in South Africa, and feels that it has an obligation to make this opportunity available for all.
She points out that from a corporate perspective the company is creating a pool of relevant ICT skills for the local industry, while increasing employment potential.
The ICT academy’s curriculum is updated yearly with input from T-Systems and other ICT companies, says Van der Westhuizen, adding T-Systems is also involved in the Hazeyview Digital Learning Centre (HDLC) which was launched in August last year.
The company invested R3.7-million towards the establishment of HDLC. The initiative provides skills such as IT, tourism and English to the Hazyview community and surrounding areas in Mpumalanga, with the investment as part of T-Systems in South Africa’s Sustainable Enterprise Development Programme.
The HDLC, which is managed by registered nongovernmental organisation The Good Work Foundation (GWF) focuses on individuals that have left the school system early and mature students who have not been able to obtain further education owing to economic and other constraints.
The education programmes run parallel to the schooling systems and create access to education for rural learners. In addition, learners are able to obtain practical skills, preparing them for the world of work and allowing them to compete in a global environment.
The GWF, notes Van der Westhuizen, is committed to bringing positive educa- tional interventions to rural South African communities through its education initia- tives, which assist and promote the transformation that needs to take place in South Africa.
“The partnership between T-Systems in South Africa and the GWF has created a digital learning centre that is the first of its kind in the country, changing the way we approach local education,” says GWF chairperson Dave Varty.
The establishment of the HDLC also falls in line with Minister for Basic Educa- tion Blade Nzimande’s Green Paper on post-school education and training, which recommends expansion in all post-school institutional types such as further education training (FET) colleges, universities, adult education facilities and workplace-based training.
The Green Paper proposes an increase in FET college enrolments from 400 000 to four-million in 20 years.