CIDA City Campus held its fifth annual certification ceremony yesterday for about 160 students who graduate from the ICT Academy with various international IT qualifications. 

Founded in 2003, the Academy is an initiative of companies such as T-Systems, SAP, Cisco Systems, CompTIA and Sun Microsystems, set up to address the ICT skills shortage in South Africa.
Since inception of the Academy, more than 800 students have been awarded qualifications in a variety of specialised fields. They enter the job market as highly-skilled and marketable employees with qualifications in areas of expertise such as programming, networking, business systems, web development and enterprise resource planning.
Mardia van der Walt-Korsten, CEO, T-Systems in South Africa, says the company is proud to be the main corporate supporter of the CIDA ICT Academy. “In partnership with DEG, a German investment and development company, we invested an initial R4-million for the development of the Academy. Our objective was that students should be trained in areas relevant to the needs of the industry.
"T-Systems employs graduates from the programme as part of the apprenticeship and our first hire was 20 students in 2006. We hope to serve as a model for other multinationals in making a social contribution to this country.”
Dr Taddy Blecher, CEO of CIDA City Campus Group, says that the average pass rate at the Academy is above 90% and the employment rate on completion of courses is over 80%.
“The programme is in line with government’s Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa) which aims to address critical skills shortages. By 2009, it has been estimated that South Africa will be unable to fill nearly 114 000 jobs in the IT networking field alone.”
The Academy is open to CIDA students in their second year of the Bachelor of Business Administration who meet a certain minimum standard in an aptitude test. Students do not pay additional fees for attending the Academy and the monthly CIDA City Campus fee of R150.00 covers the ICT training. The market value of the courses they attend is significantly higher and the value of training in the first year alone is over R17 000.00.
The ICT Academy teaching programme applies global best practice examples for the three-year internationally recognised certificate that includes workplace internship. The first year consists of a foundation in information technology and telecommunications training and students then choose their streams of specialisation.