Cape initiative unlocks R250m to train youth

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3 000 youths will be trained in digital skills over the next three years.
3 000 youths will be trained in digital skills over the next three years.

The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) has received a further R250 million to scale up its CapaCiTi technology skills and job readiness programmes.

In addition to the 1 000 candidates already trained, mentored and placed, CiTi will train a further 3 000 unemployed South African youth over the next three years. This is thanks to support from BCX, which gave R100 million; the National Treasury Jobs Fund, which put R75 million towards the initiative; and other South African corporates.

The CapaCiTi programmes are available in Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth, and CiTi's Cape Town-based Bandwidth Barn hubs in Woodstock and Khayelitsha.

The programme has been around for the past seven years and adapts its course based on what skills are needed at that time in the technology sector in SA.

The students are trained in digital skills such as ICT infrastructure, software programming, cyber security, fintech, or artificial intelligence. Once they are done with the course, they are placed in permanent jobs in corporates that need their particular skills set.

"South Africa faces an enormous unemployment problem while at the same time the economy is being constrained from growing at its full potential due to a shortage of appropriate skills," says Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi.

"This is further exacerbated by a rapid change to our old economic model as the new digital economy becomes pervasive. Disruptive technology is damaging social cohesion throughout the world, but we see this as a massive opportunity for SA to unlock all the latent talent which we have by providing access to relevant, responsive skills training and education."

The programme, for unemployed and previously disadvantaged young individuals, has achieved a 97% placement rate in 130 South African companies to date.

Women make up at least 40% of the intake every year.

Young individuals can apply online to join the July programmes in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

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