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WeThinkCode_ Partners with Ekurhuleni West TVET College to expand the reach of their World-Class Software Developer Training Programme

WeThinkCode_ (WTC) and Ekurhuleni West TVET College (EWC) are entering into a pioneering public-private partnership to pilot a programme that will train youth with no prior coding experience to become world-class software developers. The pilot will see two cohorts of 50 students learning the WeThinkCode_ curriculum at the EWC Boksburg TVET campus, extending WeThinkCode’s annual intake of 450. The pilots’ success could herald an era to create a pipeline of thousands of in-demand technical skills yearly across the country.

While the country has the highest unemployment rate globally, South Africa’s economy faces a severe technical skills shortage. WeThinkCode_ is a private software development academy that provides opportunities for unemployed youth to enter the tech field. The non-profit sees the collaboration with EWC as an opportunity to further its impact, closing the gap between unemployed youth with great potential and market demand for skilled software developers.

“This pilot programme represents a pivotal opportunity to produce digital skills at scale. TVETs have a national footprint, and together with our demand-led coding curriculum, we can deliver thousands of digital skills into our economy and help to lower our youth unemployment rate more rapidly than WeThinkCode_ could on its own,” says Ruvimbo Gwatirisa, WeThinkCode_ Campus Director: Cape Town, and lead of the TVET expansion. 

​​Manie Stoltz, Business Unit, Partnerships Manager: Ekurhuleni West College, agrees that the partnership is an investment critical to shaping South Africa’s future in the digital landscape; “Through this partnership, WeThinkCode_ and the Ekurhuleni West TVET College are not only empowering young minds to become skilled coders, but also enabling them to unlock their full potential and create a brighter future for themselves and their communities. Investment in education is a vital step towards building a better world. WTC and EWC are paving the way for a generation of innovative thinkers and problem-solvers who will shape our future.”

WeThinkCode_ brings its track record of producing technical skills demanded by some of South Africa’s biggest corporations to the table. “In our seven years of operating, we have demonstrated that some of the best coding skills come from areas not normally associated with tech talent. The proof lies in our 91% post-graduation employment rate and our dedicated corporate partners who trust our ability to deliver top tech skills. We are incredibly excited about partnering with EWC TVET College to bring this opportunity to more young people and further secure local tech skills pipelines,” says Nyari Samushonga, WeThinkCode_ CEO.

Sustainable skills development is a long-term strategy that requires smart partnerships and much patience. Important and lasting partnerships are the answer to creating the pool and pipeline of digital talent, says Samushonga. The pilot programme brings together the Gauteng City Region Academy (GCRA), Standard Bank Tutuwa Community Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

Percy Moleke, CEO: Gauteng City Region Academy, says, “The Gauteng City Region Academy is proud to partner with WeThinkCode_ and Ekurhuleni West College for the delivery of this exciting pilot programme. The programme will see close collaboration between Gauteng City Region Academy, a Post Education and Training institution and a civil society organisation in the form of an NPO. The programme aims to take “best in breed” course content and curriculum delivery to youth in the province. The purpose of the pilot is to test the programme’s scalability. If it’s successful, the partners will have a model which could significantly improve the reach of this wonderful ICT programme.

We look forward to future phases of this programme and replicating the model in other sectors.

The pilot programme garnered support from both local and global foundations. “The core of why we exist as a foundation is to collaborate with other funders and the government to crowd in significant investments in educational models that influence systemic change in our educational system, so no young person is left behind or denied quality education in South Africa,” says Zanele Twala, CEO: Standard Bank Tutuwa Community Foundation.

Ona Meyer, Program Manager: Jobs & Livelihoods: Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, says, “Overall, the pilot aligns with the goals of the foundation’s jobs and livelihoods portfolio, which aims to provide new career and job opportunities for over 250,000 young adults from communities in need, globally each year. The partnership between WeThinkCode_ and EWC is a case study of a new partnership model that will allow youth enrolled in TVETs to access a high-quality, industry-relevant curriculum and pathway support into jobs in the ICT sector in South Africa. Partnerships like these have the potential to stretch across multiple TVET campuses and incorporate a variety of high-quality private training providers to improve employment outcomes for many young South Africans.”

The long-lasting effects anticipated out of the collaboration go past any individual contribution. Gwatirisa says that beyond the envisaged skills pipeline outcome, the exercise provides an opportunity to collect and analyse data which can be used to innovate around policies aimed at creating a robust IT education framework.

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