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SA’s digital skills base gets a much-needed boost

By , ITWeb
South Africa , 11 Dec 2020
Huawei EBG President, Liao Yong; Higher Education Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande; SAPCO President Sanele Mlotshwa; Huawei SA Dep CEO, Kian Chen.
Huawei EBG President, Liao Yong; Higher Education Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande; SAPCO President Sanele Mlotshwa; Huawei SA Dep CEO, Kian Chen.

A partnership between the South African Public Colleges Organisation (SAPCO), the Department of Higher Education and Huawei has led to the opening of 33 ICT academies at TVET (Technical and Vocational Education Training) colleges across the country, in an initiative that stakeholders believe will boost inclusive digital skills transfer for SA’s youth.

The latest development was announced at the SAPCO national general council event in Ekurhuleni.

The coalition partners said the initiative will result in 33 TVET colleges enrolled in the Huawei ICT Academy programme across all nine provinces, with more than 300 students and lecturers having already participated in Huawei ICT certification training.

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Dr Blade Nzimande praised the initiative, saying that the programme “acts as a bridge between enterprises and academy to build a talent ecosystem for the ICT industry, and is a wonderful example of the college-industry partnership that is so vital for our vocational education and skills development system”.

“Our strategic goal is to help create a capable workforce that should support an inclusive growth path to meet the needs of our society, especially those of our economy,” said Dr Nzimande. “Technical and Vocational Education is a vital component of our post-school and training system due to its importance in helping students to develop the technical and practical skills needed to improve their livelihoods and to be competitive in today’s ever-changing world.”

Dr Nzimande presented Huawei ICT Academy certificate plaques to representatives of participating TVETs, as well as certified instructor certificates and excellent student awards.

“Today I remain honoured that the Huawei ICT Academy continues to record significant successes,” said Dr Nzimande. “The programme has been designed to deliver standard certification courses required by the employers. These courses prepare our students with the latest technology and practical skills to work in the ICT industry, making them more employable and helping to kick-start their careers.”

The Huawei ICT Academy offers Huawei certification training online and in classrooms; it provides instructor training, and supports training plan design and curriculum integration.

SAPCO president Sanele Mlotshwa said the Huawei-SACPO partnership was more relevant than ever as the 4IR gained speed.

“The 4IR affects all industries,” he said. “We thank Huawei for the opportunity to operate these academies. “They will have a significant impact on the sector at large and on how we embrace these global changes.”

Liao Yong, President of Huawei Southern Africa Enterprise Business Group, agreed that partnerships between academia and industry could help close the gap between industry requirements and talent capability.

“To achieve an intelligent, fully connected digital world, the ICT industry requires trained professionals,” said Yong. “As the 4IR takes hold, technology such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and cloud computing are coming to the fore. We are grateful to have found partners in SACPO and the Department of Higher Education to achieve our vision of building skills in these fields.”

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