Following the success of its Youth in ICT project last year, the Cape IT Initiative (CITI) has embarked on a similar campaign, this year encouraging both male and female learners in grades 8 and 9 to consider a career in IT. 

“The skills crisis facing this industry – and there is one– will only be corrected if we reach learners before they make the all important subject choice.  Too many of our learners are discovering the opportunities of the IT industry when it’s too late. Our industry needs to work collectively and take action now if we want it to remain globally competitive,” comments Viola Manuel, CITI executive director.
CITI together with the Khanya Project and the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) have identified predominantly PDI schools in and around Cape Town, as well as the Overberg, West Coast and Southern Cape areas, who are keen to expose their learners to IT as a career choice.
Sponsored by Cornastone Consulting, the project kicks off on the 13th of August when high profile IT executives will address learners at the schools, outlining the benefits of working in the IT sector, their real experiences in the sector as well as what the learners can do while still in school and equip them to choose their subjects wisely to enable them to enter a career in IT.
“We see a continuing demand for ICT skills in South Africa over the next ten to twenty years. For us to meet future demands for IT skills, we need to participate in programs such as Youth in ICT to get more South African kids to see ICT as a possible career and to expose them to the possibilities,” says Hamilton Ratshefola of Cornastone Consulting.
“The opportunities in IT are enormous, they go far beyond what the media tends to focus on.  CITI and our public and private supporters want to show young people that this industry is not just about shaggy-haired geekdom.  We are giving learners practical advice on where to study, what to study and how they can best prepare for a prosperous future,” adds Manuel.
CITI has published a career guidance handbook which will assist learners to learn about the different possible careers within the IT sector as well as goal-setting. Each learner will receive his/her own booklet.
Learners are encouraged to answer questions derived from the booklet in an entry form provided. A girl learner stands to win an iPod while a boy learner stands to win a Nokia 5200 cell phone.  The school with the most entries stands to win one-year’s wireless connectivity from UniNet.