Panyaza Lesufi, MEC of Education and Youth Development in Gauteng, recently mentioned that learners should receive multiple certificates by the time they graduate from high school. The MEC further explained that with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) looming, education in technology should be the highest topic on the agenda of upskilling the youth. T-Systems, as a result of this, launched its T-Systems Digital Awareness Holiday Programme on 25 June 2019. 50 high school students from different institutions were invited to participate in the three-day course for free.
The course was held at T-Systems’ ICT Academy in Johannesburg, and it aimed to introduce students to the world of Information Technology as well as equip them with vital skills they would need in the future. This year’s course included the pressing issue of cyber-security.
“As part of our Nation Building initiative and in line with driving economic empowerment through skills development, we thought would be beneficial to host a programme that would better prepare and expose learners to the digital age,” said Marcus Karuppan, T-Systems ICT Academy Manager. “There is a great need for cyber security specialists in South Africa, however, the current skills do not match the demand. This is why we chose to launch our programme with a focus on security. If T-Systems can spark the interest of these learners and upskill them to get ahead in their studies, then this could have a profound impact on our country’s technological future,” Karuppan added.
The programme began with an overview of ‘how to be safe online.’ This addressed the exponential growth of networked connections leaving data open to more vulnerable attacks. The overview was followed up by training on five focal points, which were: the need for cyber-security; attacks, concepts and techniques; protecting your data and privacy and; protecting the organisation. The programme ended with a module on ‘Will your future be in cyber-security?’
“We have learnt a tremendous amount about cybersecurity, the threats we may face as well as ways in which to protect devices. T-Systems has not only been able to impart knowledge [on] how to keep my information safe online, but the programme has left me with a passion for IT,” said Mihle Kgalemone, a Grade 11 student from Maryvale College in Johannesburg that participated in the holiday programme.
The course has introduced coding concepts as a tester for future programmes on coding and application development. The course has also addressed soft skills, and learners have been provided with training on building conference as well as offered guidance on career opportunities that are available in the ICT industry. Curricula, like the T-Systems Digital Awareness Holiday Programme, were established in order to prepare and enable students by teaching them the basic skills they will; need to get a head-start in their technology careers.
“We are considering developing this programme even further and plan to partner with various schools, community centres and hopefully the Department of Education in the future. Our ICT Academy will ensure that our youth becomes participants in the Fourth Industrial Revolution by giving them the knowledge, skills and understanding required for tomorrow,” said Shirley Vmjas, Head of the T-Systems Nation Building Initiative.
Edited by Kojo Essah
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