The University of Cape Town has launched the UCT Digital Bootcamp which, it says, will offer an additional pathway to employment for determined young people and help them unleash their digital potential.
The innovative pilot project, which is part of UCT’s Vision 2030, was launched in partnership with Umuzi – a company that trains top talent for digital roles at leading corporates and other institutions in South Africa.
As part of the UCT Digital Bootcamp pilot programme, 100 young people whose UCT studies have been interrupted or who have been unemployed for three years or more will move towards a direction that may be different from their original career goals by being provided with digital skills. Training is sponsored by Amazon, Google and Meta.
UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng says: “The UCT Digital Bootcamp offers the possibility to not only change individual lives for the better, but also to revive South Africa’s workforce, business environment, society and the economy. This partnership between Africa’s top-ranked university, a leading digital training company and world-class corporates is our way of saying that we believe in all the good that our young people have to offer to South Africa and the global community.”
The pilot programme is based on two important premises. The first is the belief in the potential of every UCT student to make a positive contribution to the future of South Africa. This includes students who face the disappointment of having to interrupt their university education for whatever reason. As learnt from the pandemic, disruptions can point the way to new solutions and opportunities.
“For this reason, the UCT Digital Bootcamp offers sponsored training to eligible UCT interrupted studies students or UCT graduates who have not been able to find a job since graduating three or more years ago. This so they can increase their chances of finding work or creating their own entrepreneurial opportunities. No previous digital experience or skills are required,” says Prof Phakeng.
An important part of UCT’s Vision 2030 is to help South Africans take their place in the global digital economy – not just by filling digital jobs, but also by bringing an African perspective to help steer the growth of the digital economy across and for the continent. This is part of UCT’s institutional mission to unleash human potential to create a fair and just society.
“We are motivated by our awareness of the massive, untapped talent and ability that is available in South Africa’s young people. If a lack of digital training is what stands between these talented future leaders and a job, then we aim to address that,” adds Prof Phakeng.
“We are seeing the growing need for digital skills in more and more professional fields – including law, social services, media communication and other ‘non-scientific’ sectors. At UCT, we encourage students to consider developing information technology skills while pursuing a degree in their chosen programmes of study because we want our graduates to be ready to work within the fourth industrial revolution and influence its impact in South Africa.”
UCT and Umuzi are supported in this pilot project by sponsorships from international corporates that are eager to employ South Africans in their local offices. But, Phakeng said, participants are encouraged to think beyond corporate employment and to consider ways that they can shape new services and businesses around the skills they will acquire.