The CIDA ICT Academy has relocated to new premises in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg.

The move will see the academy consolidating and streamlining its facilities and operations, benefiting both delivery to its students and sponsors’ investment.

The ICT Academy was previously situated in Commissioner Street, Johannesburg. Established in 2003 with an initial 121 students, it has since enrolled almost 1 000 students from disadvantaged communities.

Mardia van der Walt-Korsten from T-Systems in South Africa, comments: “We’re extremely excited about providing both the students and co-sponsors with a campus that sets yet another important benchmark for the country’s ICT training endeavours. The new facilities will provide students with the perfect platform to excel in their training, setting them firmly on a path to career success in the South African ICT industry.”

Since inception, the academy has had a 95% pass rate and, importantly, above 85% employment in IT-related fields.

Inspired by the success of the CIDA City Campus, a non-profit higher education establishment founded in Johannesburg 1999, T-Systems in South Africa together with founding partners CIDA, SAP, Sun Microsystems, CompTIA, Cisco Systems, DEG and Outlearning established the ICT Academy. This included R4-million start-up funding.

Currently, four of the seven founding members are still involved with academy. The current partners – Microsoft, SAP, CompTIA, T-Systems and CIDA – offer financial contribution that is used towards rent, utilities and infrastructure, textbooks, tuition, examination fees and student lunches. Additionally, some of the country’s most prominent ICT players support the academy through workplace programmes.

Since 2003, T-Systems in South Africa has invested R3,5-million towards the academy every year, and also uses the ICT Academy graduates as one of the feeders to its internship programme. The programme has enrolled more than 250 interns since inception, of which 90% have been employed fulltime by the company.

For those that have not gained permanent employment within T-Systems, the company’s learnership programme has assisted in finding positions for these interns at other organisations.

SAP has been a long-standing partner of the CIDA ICT Academy in partnership with T-Systems.  The software giant currently offers Business One training and certification to SAP students.

“We see the academy as a vital platform to promote relevant ICT skills for the African market,” says Siphiwe Sibanda, HR director of SAP Africa. “We have invested more than R8-million in the academy since its inception and have made a contribution of R500 000 towards the development of the new ICT academy in Lyndhurst.”

The new campus features training resources which includes 12 computer labs with well over R10-million worth of equipment.  “It is important that our students and interns are equipped with current training to ensure that they are sought-after and highly employable,” says van der Walt-Korsten.

Administrative costs are also kept low as students – who only pay 7% of what they would pay at similar institutions – are expected to contribute to the running of the campus, earning credits toward their final mark. These include computer maintenance, administrative work, marketing, market research and even cleaning and cooking.

The ICT Academy curriculum comprises 70% theoretical training and 30 percent learnership or workplace practical training where the students are placed at various ICT organisations. In addition, the academy offers softer skills training to overcome communication and cultural challenges.

Current certification courses include:

* CompTIA entry-level certificates (ICDL, A+) and Network+ course which is an entry level Microsoft based networking certificate (added to the curriculum in 2011;

* Cisco CCNA and CCNP;

* SAP BusinessOne certificates; and

* Microsoft MCITP Server and Enterprise Security certificates.