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Anglo American ICT learnership programme produces first cohort of graduates

22nd February 2023

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online

     

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Mining company Anglo American’s information and communications technology (ICT) learnership programme in South Africa has produced 35 graduates with a set of new digital skills said to be contributing to the country’s overall ICT development focus.

All 35 young graduates have achieved a National Qualification Framework (NQF) 4 qualification and are part of the first cohort of the programme.

The ICT learnership programme included subjects such as e-commerce, graphic designing, user experience (UX)/ user interface (UI) and cloud computing to help school leavers continue to build ICT skills post-matric. The learnership aims to give candidates certified skills and experience through on-the-job training to secure jobs in the ICT sector and close the country’s large digital skills gap.

The 12-month sector education and training authorities-accredited learnership is managed by local development specialist Summit. Each student receives a monthly stipend, a device, and data, and is allocated an employee mentor by Anglo American. At least 40% of their time is spent doing practical training.

Of this first group of graduates, 11 have been employed full-time by nonprofit organisation Edunova, ten will be pursuing an NQF 5 coding learnership and 14 will be enrolling in various tertiary education undergraduate programmes.

“On the first day of the learnership, the instructor asked us to switch on the laptops and open Microsoft Word. I had no clue what he was talking about, as it was my first time working on a laptop. A year later, I am an ICT graduate with my own small business, helping people in my community run, install and update software and teaching them how to use Microsoft.

“The learnership has given me skills to earn an income for myself. I am excited to further my skills by studying an NQF 5 Systems Development course as well,” graduate Tshegofatso Mosiapoa says.

Based on its success, the programme will increase its intake to 120 learners this year coming from communities close to Anglo’s operations in Limpopo, the North West and the Northern Cape.

The learnership will also be launched in Botswana in communities around subsidiary De Beers’ Debswana operations, and a similar learnership will be established in the company’s Australian host community.

The 2021 ICT Skills Survey, carried out by the University of the Witwatersrand’s Joburg Centre for Software Engineering in partnership with the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa, highlighted the fact that significant digital skills gaps remain in South Africa, with not enough new skills coming through the pipeline.

The learnership programme was established following the success of a Google Sprint between July and December 2021. The Sprint saw more than 150 Grade 12 students from schools around Anglo American’s mining operations complete courses in information technology support, UX/UI design, project management and data analytics. Three of the Google Sprint graduates were part of the learnership’s first intake.

As the learnership progresses, the programme aims to deploy learners as ICT champions in schools that are part of Anglo American’s Education Programme. Their duties will include setting up devices at schools; securing and maintaining devices and ICT infrastructure; supporting the adoption of ICT into teaching methods; and providing students with ICT skills. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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