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IBM Extends Academic Initiatives to Industry Skill Development

Two Tiered Learnership Programme to Help Address Graduate Skills Capacity

SOUTH AFRICA, Johannesburg– 23 November 2011: IBM South Africa, in partnership with the MICT SETA announced the roll out of two tiered graduate learnership programme for an initial 200 learners based in facilities in Zeerust and Midrand. This will see the company extend its current Academic Initiatives to bridge the early learning and tertiary research activities it currently invests in.

Speaking at the launch event for the graduates, Oupa Mopaki, CEO of the MICT SETA said that interventions like these have a positive impact on both the broad skills shortage in the IT market and the high level of unemployment of ICT graduates.“ People often talk about the importance of training. But training without work place experience is meaningless. With it, it means a job opportunity. And that’s why programmes like these are critical.”

The learnership programme developed in partnership with the MICT SETA is structured into a NQF level 3 and a NQF level 5. The Level 3 programme with a current capacity of 100 students provides an introduction to IT to qualified matric learners. The programme is specifically targeted at non urban learners who can benefit local government structures and a high percentage uptake is expected. The Level 5 programme will offer another 100 learners the opportunity of a certificate equivalent training programme with the vital addition of training on IBM products. Students will be introduced to Java, DB2, Tivoli and Websphere. This is the first time IBM will offer specific IBM product training to learnership participants. Participants will gain a SETA accredited qualification as well as in service training required for graduate level entry into the workforce.

The difficulties in the global economy have the very real potential to unhinge economic growth in South Africa. But the significant growth flowing from the development and expansion of telecommunications networks, power grids and transport infrastructure as well as private and public sector investment in the region are maintaining and transforming South Africa’s ability to participate in the global economy.

“South Africa needs to be a country that produces its own ITC products and services. We need Masters and PHD candidates to make that possible.” says Mopaki.
General Manager for IBM South Africa, Oliver Fortuin says: “This is a learnership programme that for the first time adds business and technology skill sets to the training process. Learners will be trained beyond the basics to have a solid knowledge of IBM’s key software products and solutions. In this we believe that we can enhance the candidates’ chances of being absorbed into government structures or the private sector.”

The programme will also serve to bridge IBM social responsibly activities in the education space that have focused on:
• IBM Academic Initiate: IBM works closely with major universities in South Africa to develop students with business and technology skills for a Smarter Planet. The University Programmes include Ph.D Fellowships, Faculty and University Awards as well as Research collaborations. In addition, IBM’s academic Initiative provides schools with access to course materials, training, books and more.
• Early Childhood Education: Last month IBM has entered into a collaboration agreement with the Department of Basic Education to support the 2014 drive for improved literacy by committing to broader scale deployment of IBM’s KidSmart Early Learning Programme. The framework agreement will see 150 Kidsmart units deployed over 2 years at a relative cost of more than R2 million. First phase they will deploy 25 units in the Limpopo precinct. More than 700 KidSmart units have been installed in pre-and primary schools and early child development centres in all nine provinces across the country as part of IBM South Africa’s flagship R12 million investment programme launched ten years ago.

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Александра Кисель