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WeThinkCode accelerates tech job placements for SA youth

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 25 Jun 2024
A WeThinkCode student. (Photograph supplied by WeThinkCode)
A WeThinkCode student. (Photograph supplied by WeThinkCode)

Software development training academy WeThinkCode is making significant progress in placing South African youth into tech jobs, it says.

According to Kelebogile Motlhamme, operations director at WeThinkCode, since its inception in 2016, the training academy has seen 1 108 young people graduate. “Out of these graduates, 86% (952) have been placed in employment,” she tells ITWeb via e-mail.

“In December 2023, 359 students completed their training. Since January 2024, WeThinkCode has placed 175 of them. Additionally, 15 graduates are currently in the interviewing process, and 169 are left to be placed.”

The academy is targeting 500 students for the 2024 cohort. “The average age of enrolled students has remained around 24-25 years old, highlighting the academy’s appeal to young adults at the cusp of their careers. This growth reflects WeThinkCode’s commitment to making tech education accessible to a broader and more diverse population.”

In a statement, WeThinkCode says it is making significant strides in fostering youth development through its software development programme.

The academy notes that recent proprietary data highlights the academy’s achievements in graduate placement and its commitment to inclusivity, addressing the country’s critical need for youth empowerment and skills development.

The academy’s 2016 cohort saw 106 students enrol for the 24-month programme. By 2018, 93 of these students had graduated, translating to a graduation rate of 84%, with a 100% placement rate securing employment for these graduates in the tech industry, says the organisation.

It adds this trend continued with the 2017 cohort, where 119 out of 144 students graduated by 2019, achieving an 83% graduation rate and a 93% placement rate of graduates entering the workforce.

“The academy’s graduate employment placement success underscores the urgent need for structured youth employability programmes in South Africa,” says the academy.

According to Statistics South Africa, the unemployment rate among the youth (ages 15-34) was at 45.5% in the first quarter of 2024, it states.

“There needs to be strong, proven interventions to provide training and ensure high placement rates. WeThinkCode is not just offering education, but also creating tangible pathways for economic enablement and stability for young South Africans.”

Motlhamme explains that WeThinkCode utilises a comprehensive selection process that foregoes traditional tertiary requirements.

First, an aptitude test and bootcamps are used to assess candidates’ readiness and potential, ensuring inclusivity and accessibility for youth from underserved communities and those with no prior coding experience.

Applicants are then invited to undergo an online aptitude test designed to identify analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

Candidates who pass the online assessment are invited to attend a six-day selection bootcamp at one of WeThinkCode’s campuses.

“This bootcamp introduces applicants to programming principles at the beginner level and includes various individual and group assessments to evaluate the applicant’s understanding and application of the concepts taught. The bootcamp concludes with an examination. Candidates who pass the bootcamp are invited to enrol in the programme,” Motlhamme says.

“Candidates who show promise but have weaknesses in certain areas are invited for an interview with the WeThinkCode team to further assess their readiness for the programme. This rigorous selection process has enabled WeThinkCode to achieve significant improvements in inclusion and diversity among its recruits, reaching candidates who might be overlooked through traditional selection methods.

“We are immensely proud of our graduates’ achievements and the strong placement rates that showcase our commitment to nurturing tech talent ready for the industry. Our enrolment growth and dedication to diversity further underscore our mission to provide top-tier tech education accessible to all.”

According to the academy, the placement of graduates and their achievements in the workplace are made possible through a strong ecosystem of partners.

The collaboration and commitment of partners such as BBD, FNB, BCX, IQ Business, Momentum, Vodacom, Yoco, StructureIT and GK Software are instrumental in ensuring students are workforce-ready and connected to employment opportunities upon graduation, it concludes.