Pan-African network service provider Workonline Communications has committed to sponsoring high speed internet access for innovative tech incubator WeThinkCode¬_, which aims to create world-class software engineers from the ranks of South Africa’s youth.
In partnership with Ecole 42 in France, WeThinkCode_ is committed to transforming the technology education landscape in the country, with the aim of bridging the gap between the host of underdeveloped talent and the dire need for skilled IT practitioners.
“We have set ourselves ambitious targets, which we believe are realistic due to the scalability of our education model,” says Camille Agon, co-founder of WeThinkCode_. “This year, we will train 100 students, but we are aiming for 1 000 students by 2018, on our way towards training 100 000 coders across the continent.
“However, these goals come at a cost and that is why we are grateful for the contributions of the likes of Workonline Communications,” she adds. “High quality bandwidth will go a long way towards securing our ability to provide free education to the large expected numbers of learners who enrol for our course.”
Internet penetration continues to increase, unlocking opportunities for those who acquire IT skills, including coding. Once these opportunities are unlocked by the provision of the right education, economic growth and social transformation are positively impacted. WeThinkCode_ provides access to those who may have a bright future in IT, but would not have had been able to access the opportunity.
“Workonline Communications is committed to contributing towards a healthy IT sector in South Africa, as well as the rest of the continent. Our investments into worthwhile local initiatives such as WeThinkCode_ and Cape Town Garage are an important aspect of this,” says Edward Lawrence, director of business development at Workonline Communications.
“We believe that it is very important for corporates to give back to the communities in which they operate. We are only as successful as the connectivity of a region allows us to be, or the economy in which we operate, therefore it is in our interest to invest in companies, start-ups and individuals that contribute to the development of the industry as a whole.”
In terms of contributing towards the prosperity of a developing country, few industries offer the potential of the IT industry. Manual labour alone cannot solve a country’s unemployment woes. A strong IT sector creates the opportunity for new business and for business leaders to come from all walks of life.
“These industries move so fast that you are able to become a professional and even a leader in a very short timeframe, in comparison to traditional industries where you would have to work for the better part of your career to become an industry leader,” says Lawrence. “Creating and reaching new Internet users are at the top of many global companies’ minds, which is why they are turning their attention to Africa, where penetration is low.
“Once new people are connected, new opportunities arise, and more programmers are required, creating jobs and business opportunities. The best way to meet this new need from our point of view is to train local programmers to provide local solutions that will expand the ever-increasing African IT industry. WeThinkCode_ certainly feeds this vision.”
WeThinkCode_ is open to anyone between 17 and 35; no previous coding experience is required. The course is full-time for a period of two years, and 100% sponsored by leading South African corporates like Workonline Communications.