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The Digital Academy, Barclays grow skills

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The Barclays unit of The Digital Academy has been launched to drive a rapid internship programme that is changing the way Barclays Africa develops its digital products, while supporting the people who develop them. This initiative, launched on Friday 31 July at its space on 77 Commissioner Street, Johannesburg, connects African corporates with raw talent to deliver market-ready software products. It is powered by software development start-up Empire State.

The programme will see The Digital Academy identifying and up-skilling 126 developers over the next 12 months, equipping them with experience alongside a real-world commercial entity, and supporting them in achieving a goal to solve eight business-specific challenges for Barclays Africa.

This is according to Evans Munyuki, head of digital, retail and business banking at Barclays Africa, who says that industries across the globe are being disrupted by new technologies, agile companies and innovative products and services.

“In order to remain relevant, we must partner and collaborate. Investing in a unit at The Digital Academy will allow Barclays Africa to remain agile, able to innovate rapidly and remain customer-centric.

“The rapid internship programme, for a start, has been designed to identify talent and fast track opportunities and success for the individuals involved. Together, we will hand pick and develop some of the most talented young black developers with the intention of changing the face of the digital innovation business development economy in Africa.”

Gary Bannatyne, MD at The Digital Academy, says the integrity of The Digital Academy is built on the vision to create opportunities for talented young Africans through incentive-based learning. This will be done by partnering with stakeholders, like Barclays Africa, that share the same vision to be a part of an exciting development project in the innovation space that affects the African continent.

“The model we have created allows us to be more agile, highly innovative and develop rapid solutions for our partners. The fintech sector is fast changing and The Digital Academy will assist Barclays Africa in staying ahead of the game. We look forward to playing our role as we watch this initiative change the lives of all of the parties involved.”

The Digital Academy, with the support of Barclays Africa, is designed to create impactful digital products and innovations that have commercial value.

The challenge in South Africa lies in the fact that universities and technikons teach theory, but none of the practical know-how required when working on commercial products. “The Digital Academy will take on the way developers are traditionally being taught skills on the continent,” says Bannatyne.

“It is time to take African development seriously,” he concludes.