SA must renew education if tech ecosystem is to flourish

SA has to
lift education

If tech ecosystem
is to grow.

Thursday, Jun 21st

BCX, WeThinkCode ink R60m deal

BCX, WeThinkCode ink R60m deal

BCX has announced a new partnership with WeThinkCode, a South African tuition-free programme for aspiring software engineers. BCX says it will provide R60 million over three years for WeThinkCode to invest in the next generation of talent in the ICT sector.

WeThinkCode aims to double the number of entry-level coders in the South African Market by the end of 2018.

Sipho Maseko, Telkom Group CEO says there is a fit between the work done by the two organisations. "I'm incredibly inspired by the mission of WeThinkCode. The Telkom Group has always been invested in youth skills and transformation in South Africa, especially in the digital space. Coding skills are a vital component of the new digital economy, and WeThinkCode's innovative programme is a great way to invest in the future digital minds of South Africa."

The funds will be dedicated to expansions and upgrades of WeThinkCode's Johannesburg office as well as for a new campus in Cape Town later this year. The agreement will also see BCX and other Telkom Group companies host 40 interns from WeThinkCode's educational programme every year for the next three years.

WeThinkCode was launched in South Africa in 2015 with the goal of eliminating the skills shortage through the development of 100 000 coders in Africa over the next 10 years. The educational initiative says only 200 students were admitted from the 40,000 applications it received from South African students.

A 2015 survey by the Joburg Centre for Software engineering found that South African businesses were in need of up to 70,000 skilled IT workers. The inability to fill these vacancies locally has meant that companies are recruiting talent from other parts of the world.

Ian Russell, newly appointed CEO of BCX says the investment will benefit businesses across the continent. "At BCX, we're committed to preparing African businesses to compete in the new digital economy. We advise our customers that if they don't invest in digitalisation, they should be prepared to be left behind. We're practising what we preach with this agreement with WeThinkCode. We're gaining first access to the next generation of digital talent in South Africa – the folks that will be behind the next big thing."

WeThinkCode is open to youth aged between 17 and 35. Students don't need previous education to be considered for enrolment which is conducted through an aptitude test followed by a 4-week boot camp before starting on the two-year course in programming and coding.

Students will be given opportunities to join internship programmes at BCX and other Telkom Group partners as part of their training.

Arlene Mulder, Managing Director and co-founder of WeThinkCode said, "The careers of the future in this country depend on technology skills and it is extremely important that businesses like BCX, a leader in digitalisation, work with us to allow our students every opportunity to develop their talents to create world-changing solutions for the digital era."

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