Swedish ambassador, WeThinkCode team up on skills

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 16 Nov 2022
Håkan Juholt, Sweden’s ambassador to South Africa.
Håkan Juholt, Sweden’s ambassador to South Africa.

Swedish ambassador to South Africa Håkan Juholt and software development training academy WeThinkCode aim to build a sustainable digital skills pipeline in the country.

Juholt headlined the recent WeThinkCode Future of Digital Skills conference, leading the discussion on the current state of digitisation and how key role-players can come together to build the future digital workforce.

"Digital skills are not just attractive in the labour market, but will be at the forefront of creating the future. Therefore, the Swedish embassy supports WeThinkCode, a prominent platform catching the train to the future."

He added that pursuing a digitally-competitive society can’t happen without ensuring inclusion for all, something he says has been fundamental to Sweden's success.

"In Sweden, we combine human rights and democracy with growth. These are crucial for sustainable growth. We are investing in everyone, and a country can never be prosperous without investing equally in its citizens."

Sweden has, in recent months, been increasing its support for the tech industry in SA. In April, the Swedish AI Fund launched a local search for early-stage artificial intelligence (AI) start-ups to fund.

In August, Sweden-based Hack for Earth Foundation partnered with local tech non-profit organisation Empire Partner Foundation, to host a global hackathon, inviting developers to find scalable healthcare solutions for South Africa.

In SA, digital skills are being punted as a solution to reduce the high unemployment rate and government is looking to the tech sector to stave off youth joblessness.

At the conference, WeThinkCode CEO Nyari Samushonga told participants the future will be defined by the work being done now to overhaul SA’s digital skills development pipeline.

Samushonga posited that although the majority of education funding is in the public sector, private partners are well-positioned to make a meaningful and long-term impact on skills development in partnership with the public sector.

“The key to achieving this coveted future is to collaborate to build a world-class pipeline of digital skills. Only multi-stakeholder engagements can build holistic solutions able to build an inclusive workforce, and panel discussions such as this bring us closer to achieving that ideal.”

WeThinkCode uses bespoke aptitude tests to identify talented youth from low-income backgrounds, train them to be software developers and pathway them to employment in digital jobs.

The academy’s training has launched the tech careers of over 700 WeThinkCode graduates, who have been placed into employment across the country.