Proving the business case for partnering to build in-house pipeline of tech talent

Johannesburg, 14 Nov 2023
redAcademy Graduation.
redAcademy Graduation.

redAcademy is collaborating with local companies to sustainably expand their software development talent pool by giving talented South Africans the opportunity to sprint into their IT careers. Its unique approach to skills development sees young people placed in a live coding environment, enabling them to gain experience on live client projects. redAcademy gives youth the opportunity to develop personally in the process and to secure permanent employment opportunities on graduation, with a 100% success rate to date.

redAcademy’s mission is to provide South Africa’s youth with experiential training in a live coding environment, meaning that their work readiness gives them the quickest possible prospect of being placed within the company in which they have developed software solutions, and are already acclimatised to the organisation’s processes and operations. Additionally, the candidates, or 'sprinters' as they are called, who are accepted into the programme will earn back their tuition fee through a monthly stipend over the course of the year.

"In the third quarter of last year, almost 60% of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 were unemployed. “While this figure drops when looking at those between 25 and 34, to 40.5%, there is a great need to assist young people in becoming employable,” says Jessica Hawkey, MD at redAcademy. redAcademy’s approach allows it to contribute positively to South Africa’s socio-economic transformation by giving youth access to permanent employment opportunities on graduation.

At the same time, businesses who wish to participate in 2024 will have a pipeline of talent that helps with succession progression planning within their IT department and fill some of the gaps in this skills scarce environment.

This year, redAcademy saw its first cohort of carefully selected and talented 'sprinters' graduate. “We find that this solution to skills development, in an environment in which every line item in an HR budget must be carefully scrutinised, helps companies reduce operational costs through reducing the time and money spent on recruitment, but also contributing their skills development budget towards technology resources. It also creates a sustainable flow of new talent into the business,” says Hawkey.

Hiring a new staff member can cost anywhere between three to four times what the employee’s annual salary would be, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. The bulk of the expense comes from the amount of time department leaders spend assisting HR in the hiring process.

Insaaf Daniels, Human Capital Director of redPanda Software, a client which houses redAcademy, explains that the company reduced its own hiring agency fees by over R500 000 a year, and that is without calculating the internal recruitment team's time and cost required to recruit successfully.

In the work environment, says Niel Coetzee, Head of Engineering at redPanda Software, there are additional savings to be had, such as quicker onboarding of new talent, as well as them immediately being able to contribute to the current team.

Hard lens on soft skills

Often misunderstood, soft skills relate to an employee’s ability to develop and grow within the work environment; having their best abilities enhanced while working on areas in which they lack some confidence. “For example, a youngster may be shy and need help getting out of his or her comfort zone with a bit of nudging. By mentoring through our redAcademy programme, we see them blossom and really take charge of their futures,” says Hawkey.

“Involvement in the business world also enables 'sprinters' to become accustomed to how the corporate world works and allows the company offering the live environment to determine whether the 'sprinter' would be a good fit after their Career Sprint.”

The programme also teaches accountability in that people don’t only learn to own up to their mistakes, and fix them, but also how to suggest remedial solutions. “Teaching 'sprinters' how to take responsibility also allows them to take ownership of a project and step in to suggest solutions when other projects run up against a roadblock,” explains Hawkey.

Speaking about their innovative skills partnership with redAcademy, Arno Geldenhuys, Head of Information Technology for Lewis Stores, explains that “by investing in programmes like redAcademy's Career Sprint, we have not only provided these young individuals with valuable knowledge, skills and real-world experience from working on our tech solutions, but we have made a meaningful difference in their lives by providing their first jobs.”

“By collaborating with South African businesses facing a massive skills gap, such as our partnership with the Lewis Group, our purpose is to build a sustainable tech talent pipeline for the future. There are truly real benefits to redAcademy’s approach to providing South Africa’s youth with the tools they need to get ahead in a study environment that isn’t oversubscribed and allows them to join the workforce with confidence,” concludes Hawkey.

It’s time for South Africa's businesses to make an investment in building its own resource pipeline. Partnering with redAcademy means that your organisation will secure a specialised, tailor-trained talent pipeline of work-ready software developers to support your business growth.

Connect with us to find out how this skills development partnership could benefit your business.



redAcademy is an innovative skills and experiential learning hub that specialises in teaching coding and technology skills. By collaborating with South African businesses facing a massive skills gap, our purpose is to build a sustainable tech talent pipeline for the future.

redAcademy has a clear goal: to give carefully chosen, talented South Africans the opportunity to sprint into their IT careers. By giving Sprinters the opportunity to work in a live environment and gain experience on our clients’ own tech stack, we work closely with industry-leading senior developers and our client partners to ensure that Sprinters have the soft skills and work-readiness to step into a career in the tech industry. Through these strategic partnerships, our Career Sprint is designed to fast-track careers in the real world.

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