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Collaborative effort marks graduation of 41 ICT students

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 19 Feb 2024
ICT graduates at the Lindamahle Innovation Centre in the Eastern Cape’s OR Tambo District.
ICT graduates at the Lindamahle Innovation Centre in the Eastern Cape’s OR Tambo District.

A total of 41 students from the Lindamahle Innovation Centre in the Eastern Cape successfully graduated with much-needed ICT skills.

The graduates were part of a year-long pilot programme focused on imparting ICT skills to people in unconnected rural areas.

The digital skills development effort was facilitated via the Cisco Networking Academy (NetAcad), in partnership with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT), Software AG, International Labour Organisation, The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbei, MICT SETA and NEMISA.

The graduation ceremony, held at the Lindamahle Innovation Centre, was attended by Cisco, representatives from the DCDT, as well as partner organisations.

Mlindi Mashologu, deputy director-general for information society and capacity development at DCDT, says: “It’s exciting to see the tangible results of Cisco and Lindamahle efforts to provide education and upskilling opportunities, and nurture the next generation of empowered, digitally-savvy professionals.

“These young people play an important role in our national digital transformation agenda. We congratulate them and wish them well on the next stage of their career journeys.”

The pilot programme took place over a 12-month period in the OR Tambo District, Eastern Cape, where students received certifications in networking, programming and cyber security.

It was designed to enable students to follow two career pathways that will foster digital connectivity in their rural communities: network maintenance officer (NMO) and community capacitation officer (CCO).

An NMO is responsible for keeping the internet connection, be it fibre or wireless, optimised throughout the village. Meanwhile, CCOs introduce and equip communities with emerging technologies and help community members use their connectivity safely and effectively.

Of the 41 graduating students, 32 are unemployed young women and mothers from the surrounding community, according to a statement.

“These young women and our team at Lindamahle worked extremely hard to reach this important milestone for our community,” comments Zine Nkukwana, CEO of Lindamahle.

“Working with Cisco Networking Academy and in alignment with government’s efforts to connect communities to the internet, we created a programme to equip our students with the skills they need to build digital and economic connections here in the Eastern Cape.”

Says one student participant: “NetAcad enabled us to realise our dream of contributing to future job opportunities by providing essential training in this digital transformation era.”

Smangele Nkosi, Cisco GM in South Africa, says: “It’s notable that Lindamahle’s graduating class is primarily comprised of women. Female representation in the technology skills sector is paramount.”