UK-SA Tech Hub and CiTi to boost digital skills placements

The partners have launched the Developers Placement Programme to increase the number of young South Africans from diverse backgrounds entering the tech start-up ecosystem.
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The UK-South Africa Tech Hub has partnered with the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) to enable more digitally skilled youth to land jobs.

The Developers Placement Programme was introduced in November and will focus on increasing the number of young South Africans from diverse backgrounds entering the tech start-up ecosystem, particularly females. 

It will see chief technology officers (CTOs) from the UK coming to SA to mentor the programme beneficiaries.

The UK-South Africa Tech Hub, which was launched in February, is one of several that the UK government has set up to promote trade links, develop digital skills and strengthen partnerships in research and innovation. 

Each hub comprises locally engaged teams based in the British British Embassy and the British High Commission. Apart from SA, there are hubs in Israel, Kenya, Nigeria, Brazil and India, with plans afoot to expand the network to other countries, combining local context with the UK’s international support.

According to the British High Commission in SA, a key constraint to sustainable job creation and economic growth in the country is the structural mismatch between labour demand and supply.  While corporate SA is supporting the training and development of digitally skilled youth through various initiatives, these youngsters still lack the work readiness and entrepreneurial mindset needed to transform SA into a strong, digitally enabled economy.

Shirley Gilbey, the UK-South Africa Tech Hub director in SA, said: “Supporting entrepreneurial activity and strengthening the South African technology ecosystem is a core focus of the UK-South Africa Tech Hub.

“The Developers Placement Programme seeks to increase the number of tech prototypes created by start-ups, and to embed successful work placement or venture creation as a core part of the digital skills development value chain.”

Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi, said the UK-South Africa Tech hub "has created an opportunity to utilise leading UK digital expertise for the benefit of South African youth”.

Successful model

The hub model is based on a successful tech partnership between the UK and Israel, which was established in 2011.

According to the 2018 impact report, the UK-Israel Tech Hub has led to 175 business partnerships, with a potential effect of over £800 million being injected into the UK economy since 2011. The venture has also supported job growth by building a better-skilled digital workforce in Israel. 

The model has been taken to each country and tailored to the local market.

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