ExploreAI, ALX partner to train 25 000 African data scientists

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 02 Mar 2023
Shaun Dippnall, CEO and co-founder of ExploreAI Academy.
Shaun Dippnall, CEO and co-founder of ExploreAI Academy.

South African start-up ExploreAI Academy has partnered with international technology training provider ALX to rollout data science and data analytics training programmes across the continent.

In a statement, EploreAI says the partnership involves training an initial 25 000 African students over the next 18 months.

ALX is a division of African Leadership International. It says the partnership with ExploreAI Academy is part of its plan to expand its international community of skilled professionals with qualifications that evolve with the digital economy's demands.

As developed economies face increasing skills shortages in the digital and tech sectors, players like ALX are increasingly looking to Africa as an emerging source of skilled young talent.

“Investing in African digital skills and innovation-driven learning is the best way to turn African potential into best-in-class excellence,” says ALI CEO and founder Fred Swaniker.

“To do so and at scale, we need to partner with proven training providers on the continent that share our vision and passion. ExploreAI Academy is just such a partner,” he adds.

Cape Town-based ExploreAI Academy is one of Africa’s largest data science training institutions. In 2022, after just five years, it says, it achieved a milestone when its total number of graduates passed the 3 000 mark.

According to the start-up, over 90% of these graduates – many of whom are from disadvantaged communities – are employed.

This prompted founder Shaun Dippnall to say: “We believe our model of teaching data science, data engineering, AI and related skills is making a significant impact in addressing the dire shortage of these particular skills in South Africa and across the continent.”

The partnership with ALX is a massive leap forward for ExploreAI Academy, he adds. “ALX is connected to a broad ecosystem of institutions with a collective mission to harness Africa's abundant human capital by developing ethical and entrepreneurial young leaders from across the continent. We are proud to be part of that international partnership,” says Dippnall.

The partnership with ALX has meant a swift and significant gearing up to meet the demands of the new student cohorts, says the start-up.

“We learned how to pivot rapidly in 2020, when COVID forced us to move in a matter of weeks from a purely classroom-based teaching model to online, with input from acknowledged subject matter experts in their fields. That shift to online teaching opened the door to talented candidates from across the continent. The partnership with ALX is thus the next logical step for us. Of course, it’s massive in terms of the number of students, but we’re ready for the challenge,” explains Dippnall.

ExploreAI notes the shortage of data science skills across the world is now known to be a major problem in the digital age.

“The ExploreAI Academy experience has transformed the lives of numerous graduates, providing them with key skills and enabling them to accept high-earning jobs in a variety of industries. The partnership with ALX will expand our reach exponentially,” Dippnall.