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TechTrain grows skills, speeds fibre rollout

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Since the inception of its fibre technician training programme in 2012, FibreCo has been steadily growing its commitment towards building capacity in the fibre sector.
FibreCo is embarking on a new phase its TechTrain training programme which aims to build deeper industry partnerships and strengthen successful candidates’ ability to gain meaningful employment after graduating.
FibreCo owns and operates a 4 000km fibre- optic network route and carrier-grade equipment hosting facilities that interconnect more than 50 points of presence countrywide. These include Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London.
“Young people are the future leaders within our industry.  We want to motivate them to be go-getters with a will to succeed and hope that TechTrain will put them on the right path to success,” says Andile Ngcaba, chairman of FibreCo.
Arif Hussain, CEO of FibreCo, adds that it is vital to sustain South Africa’s growing fibre-optic industry: “In order to ensure that we can support the rapid roll-out of fibre currently taking place, we need to grow the pool of skilled and qualified fibre-optic technicians throughout the country.
“These high-speed, high capacity networks are critical to the ability of all South Africans to participate in the benefits offered by the Internet, the digital economy and e-government services.”
According to a recent talent shortage survey by Manpower, the unemployment rate in South Africa remains one of the highest in the world, with 47% of employers citing a lack of technical competency as the biggest obstacle to recruiting new employees.
The TechTrain programme is designed to ensure students are mentored, exposed to new skills and gain hands-on experience, providing them with a sound foundation to develop their skill-set and experience for future career development.
The added incentive is that these skills are being deployed into an industry sector where there are clear job creation opportunities. To date, about 200 technicians have qualified through the programme, resulting in 135 internships and 38 graduates currently appointed on a permanent basis with suppliers and other industry players.
Hussain explains that the programme is accredited in South Africa by MICT Seta and internationally by the Fibre Optic Association (FOA).
“TechTrain creates an environment for young unemployed graduates to strive for excellence and enter the job market with the skills to help the fibre industry become more competitive and provide access to high-speed broadband throughout the country,” he says.
“Since the programme’s inception, we envisaged that it had the potential to have a greater impact on a wider scale,” Hussain adds. “As the initiative continues to grow through partnerships with like-minded organisations, our commitment to skills development to bring value to the industry is reaffirmed.”