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Samsung, MS, UWC collaborate on coding skills development

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In an effort to empower unemployed youth by teaching them software development and digital social innovation skills, Samsung SA has collaborated with the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Microsoft on its Research and Development (R&D) Academy Project.

The academy, through its Future-Innovation Lab, aims to provide youth with the opportunity to gain skills in coding. The lab, which will be situated at the university, will be equipped with new laptops.

In the first three months of the programme, students will be taught coding skills by a Microsoft professional. Guest lecturers will also teach the students psychological skills to deal with the work environment.

In the second three months, students will be taught multiplatform coding using .NET, Core and Xamarin software. They will also learn how to create a business model for coding.

The six-month programme will see 40 unemployed youth attend classes, and is targeted at previously disadvantaged youth between the age of 18 and 35.

The programme is for unemployed matriculants and graduates with a strong interest in software development. Mathematics and software development experience would be beneficial but is not compulsory.

There will be a two-phase process to choose students. The applicant must motivate why they would like to be chosen to attend the programme, and if shortlisted, an interview will be conducted.

The students will be supported with a stipend for transport and food.

After the training, the students will receive portfolios to showcase their work and hopefully open doors to employment or further training.

UWC rector and vice-chancellor professor Tyrone Pretorius says the university is honoured to enter into this partnership.

“The partnership will undoubtedly prepare students for the fourth industrial revolution. The university takes pride in empowering and growing the skill set of the communities it serves. We, therefore, look forward to the new projects and co-operation between Samsung, Microsoft and the Department of Trade and Industry.”

The project is part of Samsung’s equity equivalent investment programme (EEIP). The EEIP is a Department of Trade and Industry initiative where multinational companies are invited to participate and contribute positively towards B-BBEE in South Africa.

Samsung’s EEIP initiative is projected to have a measurable impact on job creation and a contribution of nearly R1 billion to the South African economy at large.

Samsung SA director of business Hlubi Shivanda says the company believes its EEIP strategy will help alleviate the many challenges the nation faces.

“This exciting stage of the rollout through the R&D Academy affirms our commitment to growing South Africa through education and we have dedicated the necessary resources and time to create possibilities which were once merely a dream.”

In addition to the six-month development experience, Samsung and UWC partnered with the Microsoft AppFactory for another initiative targeting more experienced software developers who lack practical or work experience.

Six students will be chosen to be participate and the initiative will be launched later this year.

The nine-month course will provide hands-on, real-world experience through creativity and fun in a learning and working environment.

Interested youth are invited to submit applications by 16 August. For more information, visit the project’s Web site.

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