T-Systems in South Africa has announced a 100% pass rate for the 2014 intake of students at its flagship ICT Academy. At a graduation ceremony held on 8 May 2015, a total of 121 students received their certifications, with 106 students completing the first year course and 25 finishing their second year of specialisation. In addition, T-Systems has offered employment to five of the graduates who completed their second year in 2014.

Recently re-launched at larger, more central premises near Gandhi Square in Johannesburg, the ICT Academy has been contributing toward the sustainable transformation of skills-specific education in South Africa. T-Systems has been a significant sponsor since the outset, and the ICT Academy now forms part of the T-Systems Foundation.

“The T-Systems ICT Academy focuses on addressing the skills shortage and gender inequality within the South African ICT industry. Currently, 48 percent of our intake is female, a significantly higher percentage than the national average for women in ICT. Our goal is to create a pool of employable graduates with relevant ICT skills and competencies, empowering the youth and enabling them to contribute positively toward sustainable economic transformation,” says Adre du Plessis, Vice President Strategy and Transformation at T-Systems in South Africa.

To this end, the Academy offers a variety of courses that provide students with employable skills. First year students completing the course obtain three international certifications: the International Computer Driver’s License (ICDL); CompTIA A+ which addresses technical understanding of ICT as well as communication skills and professionalism; and CompTIA N+, which specifically addresses networking skills. In second year, students choose a specialisation to complete, choosing a certification from one of the following: Cisco Certified Network Associate; Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer; or Microsoft Certified Solutions Associates.

In addition, students are also awarded with local accreditation from the Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT Seta) for competency in the following national qualifications: technical support (NQF 4); systems support (NQF 5); systems development (NQF 4); and telecommunications (NQF 4).

Curriculum comprises 70 percent theoretical training and 30 percent practical workplace experience, undertaken in the form of learnerships where students are placed at ICT organisations to gain on the job experience. In order to ensure students are fully equipped with all of the skills they need to be highly employable, the ICT Academy also addresses certain softer skills such as communication and workplace conduct.

“The success of this model is evidenced not only by the pass rate of the Academy, but even more importantly, by its overall employment rate. Between 2003 and 2014, the ICT Academy produced a total of 1824 internationally certified graduates, at an average pass rate of 95 percent, and an overall employment rate of 85 percent for students who completed both years of the course. As an organisation, we are committed to do our part in providing youth from both rural and urban communities, with the opportunity to learn and develop themselves in this technology driven world, creating a platform for them to build their careers, and to build our nation,” du Plessis concludes.