Ongoing growth in communications infrastructure in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa is creating strong demand for appropriately skilled and qualified fibre optics technologists and technicians.

Training is a critical issue and hence a seminar focused on fibre optic training, its status, importance and future development will be conducted in Midrand on 9 May.
The seminar, which includes a keynote address by Jim Hayes, president of the international Fibre Optics Professional Association (FOA), and Andile Ngcaba, founder and Chairman of Convergence Partners and a former Director General of Communications in the South African Government, who will provide an overview on "The South African Perspective".
Convergence Partners is an investment mangement and advisory company focused on the telecommunications, media and technology sectors.
The venue is the Axiz Building Auditorium at International Business Gateway on the corner of New Road and 6th Avenue, Midrand. It is open to anyone with an interest in fibre optic technology, training and solutions and delegates should be there at 13h30 for 14h00.
The expansion of formal training to build up the South African fibre optics skills pool is an issue that is being tackled by local companies Datanet Infrastructure Group and Triple Play Fibre Optic Solutions, in co-operation with the FOA.
Since Seacom went live in 2009, almost every month brings news on another undersea cable landing on Africa’s east or west coast. Thankfully, companies such as CellC, FibreCo, Neotel, MTN, Vodacom, DFA, Telkom and i3 Africa are pouring billions of rand into the delivering of this capacity to customers – through the deployment of long-haul and metro, high capacity terrestrial fibre networks.
The roll-out of these fibre optic projects is creating a consistently high demand for well-trained and skilled fibre optic technicians and technologists.
There is a shortage of technicians well versed in the best practices underpinning the deployment of optical communication networks, according to Joe Botha, co-owner of Triple Play Fibre Optic solutions, which, in co-operation with Datanet, runs the second largest FOA accredited fibre optic school in the world, offering courses in Midrand, Cape Town, Durban, Kenya, Zambia, and Tanzania.
“Over the past four years, some 900 fibre optic technicians have qualified through the school. The FOA qualification ensures all-round competence,” says Botha.
Botha adds that the seminar and presentations will provide local players and users of fibre optic technology with  an in-depth overall perspective on where the technology is heading and will underline the importance of continuing advancement in terms of training and the achievement of excellence through best practices and high standards.
The Fibre Optic Association is a non-profit professional society chartered to promote fibre optics through education, certification and standards. More than 250 FOA approved schools have certified more than 33,000 fibre optic technicians in 40 countries worldwide.