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Geekulcha looks beyond hackathons

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Northern Cape youth during a previous NCDev event, #gkVacWork
Northern Cape youth during a previous NCDev event, #gkVacWork

Youth ICT organisation Geekulcha last year committed itself to becoming a full skills development platform, supporting its network of geeks beyond hackathons with a specific focus on getting their solutions to market.

Its Northern Cape hub, NCDev, has announced its initiatives in support of the Geekulcha mandate: a post-hackathon support programme and a Digital Training Academy (DTA) to be hosted under the NCDev Academy. The initiatives will run through public and private partnerships with the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), Sqwidnet and skills development NPO mLab, among others.

The NCDev Academy’s target for this year is to produce 15 accredited Web developers. ICT institution ATTI Kimberley will be the accreditation partner and the 11-week full-time course will start with in-person workshops and will move online next year.

The course will cover Web development (HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, Bootstrap), graphic design and Google’s Digital Skills for Africa training.

NCDevHack

NCDev held its fifth annual hackathon (NCDevHack) last month. The top three winners from the event will receive post-hackathon support such as business registration and mentorship, Web site development support, domain hosting and training through the soon-to-be-launched DTA.

Coders at work during an NCDev event, #gkVacWork
Coders at work during an NCDev event, #gkVacWork

NCDevHack lead Keenan Gwells says: “We use hackathons to identify teams that are able to start their own companies, and while providing structure and guidance to the youngsters, we invite government and privately-owned companies to invest in the development of local tech startups."

The DTA aims to train 1 500 people in AI, IoT, cybersecurity, blockchain and entrepreneurship by 2026/7. The digital skills academy will be run with support from other Geekulcha partners including the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Sol Plaatje University and the Northern Cape Innovation Forum.

The DTA will be piloted in the Northern Cape town of Prieska and it is envisaged that it will be rolled out countrywide by 2024. It will be open to all ‘students and innovators’ according to a statement. The only requirements are a phone or computer with a stable internet connection.

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