Internship programme to train students in open source

The programme aims to bridge the massive skills gap and demand for open source skills in SA.
The programme aims to bridge the massive skills gap and demand for open source skills in SA.

Open source software provider SUSE, in partnership with Axiz and CTU Training Solutions, has introduced an internship programme aimed at upskilling graduates who seek a career in the open source field.

According to SUSE, the programme, which combines both technical and theoretical skills, equips the 20 students with in-demand skills in Linux, cloud computing, storage, IT security, micro-services, and networking technologies, among others.

The programme will also pair the students with companies seeking the right talent, allowing graduates to be absorbed into SUSE and Axiz partner/client organisations.

Matthew Lee, regional manager for SUSE Africa, explains: "There is a massive skills gap and demand for open source skills such as cloud, application development and DevOps locally - and especially as more businesses move towards digital transformation.

"In fact, according to the Linux Jobs Report 2017, 89% of hiring managers say it is difficult to find open source talent. And, when Axiz initiated the graduate programme, we recognised the great platform that such an initiative would give us to proactively contribute to mining and development much-needed skills for the industry."

SA, according to SUSE, is a skills-hungry country, with the rarest skills being in the digital and technology sectors, where demand is far outstripping supply. This shortage is also reflected in the local open source industry.

The JCSE ICT Skills Survey 2017 found that the ICT skills shortage continues to constrain SA's capacity to increase economic activity and create jobs.

"Despite the number of government initiatives to bring technology into education, the ongoing failure of the education system to generate a cohort of young people who are interested in developing and implementing ICT and who are work-ready is unaffordable," notes the study.

A MEDO report on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) predicted that by 2020, 80% of all future jobs will require a STEM education, with people in STEM careers expected to earn almost double per hour on average than people in non-STEM careers.

"Internships play a crucial role in SA, as they create the opportunity for IT graduates to equip themselves with the practical knowledge and ability, in order to add value and productivity to their potential company of employment," says Colette Swanepoel, business development manager at CTU Training Solutions.

The SUSE internship classes will be held at the CTU Training Solutions and Axiz offices in Johannesburg and the students will be taught by certified CTU Training Solutions lecturers.

"This graduation programme has been excellent in terms of the exposure to and hands-on learning to gain the skills that are fundamental in administering the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system. I am confident that once I complete this course I will be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge that will make me a valuable asset to the industry," says Moosa Mkansi, one of the 20 graduates enrolled for the SUSE, Axiz and CTU Training Solutions graduate programme.

Last year open source products provider Red Hat, in partnership with Obsidian Systems, awarded five students with the internationally recognised Red Hat System Administrator Certification after having completed their Red Hat learnership programme which focuses on open source.

Muggie van Staden, MD of Obsidian Systems, explained at the time: "The IT skills gap is a massive challenge in our country, and most of the big IT organisations take skills from each other and very few of them invest in skills development through similar learnership programmes. Linux is the one core skill that is required in various disciplines such as big data, DevOps, cloud computing, etc. More businesses are having to streamline operations, reduce cost, operate more productively and efficiently through open source."

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