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Digigate Lab teach IT skills

Information technology and the importance of a well maintained network has been highlighted as thousands of workers traded their desks for kitchen tables.

“Since we moved into the dimension where almost everything can be done remotely, people are no longer physically going to certain places and this is why we picked the network area of IT to enable the trainees to understand the management needed for this reality,” Bongani Baloyi explains. Baloyi is the training facilitator for Vodacom, at the Genesis Hub. He is responsible for instructing local youths on the world of information technology (IT).

Young people between 18 and 34 have the opportunity to get direct involvement in the industry thanks to the Digigate Lab at the Genesis Hub in Louwville. Here 70 trainees have already started a three month course to gear them for the “fourth industrial revolution”.

Training encompasses entry level skills like basic computing to network advance.

This means that graduates of the programme will be able to design and maintain IT networks. “We are only allowing 20 trainees for contact class, while 50 trainees will be attending virtually. The sessions are zero-rated, so they will be able to be part of the sessions for free. They don’t have to worry about data costs because Vodacom will be covering that resource.”

The aim was to reach many locals within the Saldanha Bay municipal area, he says. Virtual classes allow trainees to access the learning material from the comfort of their homes. In person sessions for practical assignments will be scheduled with a smaller, safer number of trainees, Baloyi says.

Part of the Cisco certified programme includes learning entrepreneurial skills as well as the know-how on how to repair cellphones. However once trainees completed the course the hope is that some participants open their own small businesses.

“We are training them how to start and maintain a business. Business registration is really important so we equip them with this information so they can do it by themselves.”

Baloyi says locals who go on to open their own repair shops have a better chance of getting backing from a company like Vodacom because they are Cisco certified.

Digigate Lab found many young locals don’t have basic computer skills. The requirements for the course was then changed to a minimum of a Grade 12 certificate.

One of the future projects the Digigtate Lab will host is Code like a Girl. “We want to get girls excited about the world of IT, which can be seen as a ‘man’s world’. We will be engaging with local schools to make girls aware of all the opportunities they have in this field,” Baloyi says.

. For more information on the Genesis Hub and all the programmes available be sure to visit www.facebook.com/GenesisYouthHub

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