Cape Town, CiTi connect unemployed youth to tech jobs

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 19 Jul 2022
Alderman James Vos, City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for economic growth, addresses the CapaCiTi team and graduates.
Alderman James Vos, City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for economic growth, addresses the CapaCiTi team and graduates.

The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) says over the last three years, it has trained 498 unemployed Cape Town-based youth, through its partnership with the City of Cape Town.

The ICT skills development organisation runs the Tech Career Accelerator to train young South Africans and help them find internship opportunities within the ICT-related fields.

Its latest cohort of 200 young Capetonian students graduated at a ceremony on Friday, after completing a CapaCiTi Digital Skills programme. This entails various modules, including systems and software development, cloud technologies, web development, systems support and network support.

CapaCiTi says since its inception in 2010, it has trained almost 2 000 young South Africans in total, with a large percentage of these interns already placed in a wide range of local ICT corporates, such as financial services firms, digital marketing agencies and software start-ups.

The youth unemployment rate in SA hit a staggering 34.5 % in Q1 2022, with more than nine million young people who are not in employment, education or training, according to Stats SA.

It is through partnerships with funders like the City of Cape Town, which places youth at the forefront of the unemployment solution, that CapaCiTi is enabled to significantly impact the South African digital landscape and the future of young talent, notes the organisation.

“The City of Cape Town has been a long-standing partner of CapaCiTi, putting the youth of Cape Town at the centre of the future of our city,” said Fiona Tabraham, CEO of CapaCiTi, speaking at the graduation ceremony.

“With the support received, we were able to continue training and developing young talent throughout the pandemic, often acting as a beacon of hope and support to those most in need. I am delighted that over 80% of our graduating youth today have been placed into roles in the industry. Their future and opportunity in the digital economy is bright.”

With the current demand for IT skills far outstripping supply in SA, CapaCiTi believes local organisations face the challenge of developing and maintaining multi-talented, multi-skilled workforces that meet digital workplace demands and respond well to the rapidly-evolving world of work.

Furthermore, research shows that only 23% of tech jobs are held by women in SA.

CapaCiTi believes ICT firms need to hire more women to improve diversity in the workplace, as it’s been proven that higher diversity equals higher productivity and profit.

“We need to connect the dots between in-demand skills and the under-utilised youth assets that exist in South Africa by upskilling school-level educated youth with demand-driven skills initiatives,” adds Tabraham.

In an effort to address the skills gap and under-representation of women in the ICT sector in Cape Town, the organisation has ensured that 53% of the participants in the graduation programme were female.

“We have been ensuring that an enabling environment prevails for stakeholders in the IT ecosystem, which has led to Cape Town being acknowledged as the tech capital of Africa,” adds Faith Kolala, manager: catalytic sectors at the City of Cape Town.

“This has led to increased demand for young IT talent, and we are fulfilling this through partnerships such as this one.”