“Our ICT Academy has been offering practical experience and theoretical training to South African learners since 2003, bridging the skills gap and improving the employability of our candidates. For this specific initiative, we scaled down our extensive program offering to an appropriate level for high school learners and made it relatable to them. The aim is for each learner to gain skills and knowledge they can use and share with family and friends,” says Marcus Karuppan, T-Systems ICT Academy Manager.
“Cybersecurity and programming are two fundamental aspects of a digital world, and we believe they are therefore critical life skills. Everything is becoming software-based, so skills in programming are essential for a wide variety of career paths. Similarly, cyber safety and security are important not only for IT professionals but for everyone who uses an online device. Part of the course covers how to protect your information and identity online, as well as how to cope with and defend yourself from cyberbullying. We are giving these learners a basic grounding in necessary digital skills that prepares them for a career in IT in the future,” he adds.
Cybersecurity modules that form part of the course include the need for cybersecurity, how to recognise an attack, how to protect data and privacy, how to protect an organisation and an exploration of cybersecurity as a career path. The programming skills component includes an introduction to HTML and how to create a basic website, an introduction to CSS and an introduction to programming in Java. It also incorporates an introduction to Python, which is a versatile general-purpose programming language that is becoming increasingly popular for its applications in machine learning.
T-Systems is also providing training for six teachers from the three schools and 25 teachers from Katlehong Primary School. In partnership with CompTIA, these teachers are completing an IT Fundamentals program with T-Systems covering all of the cost of study materials and training resources. This course includes basic computer skills such as the Productivity Programs, and also cybersecurity and an introduction to programming in support and correlation to the learners.
The teachers will also be given a voucher to complete the international IT Fundamentals exam in February 2020, as well as preparation and a course refresher to help equip them for the exam. The idea is to equip the teachers with a broad introduction to prevalent IT topics to improve their own knowledge and enable them to pass the skills on to their learners.
“Our aim is to build South Africa as a nation by upskilling students exposing them to technology life skills at an early stage. While future employability is an important goal, our programs go beyond simply teaching children how to code. Through various initiatives, we are providing opportunities for learners to not only improve their skills but also experience life in the workplace early on and understand what career paths are open to them. Education, skills development and life experiences are all critical components of developing our country as a nation and uplifting our citizens,” says Shirley Vrnjas, Organisational Change Consultant at T-Systems, concludes.
Edited by Jenna Delport
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