The theme for the 2017 Cisco Networking Academy Instructor Conference, currently underway at Vodacom World in Midrand, states:’There’s Never Been a Better Time to Build The Digital Workforce.’
Fittingly, the Vodacom Foundation has re-committed to train unemployed young people across the country in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in order to nurture digital skills to ultimately help propel Africa into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Speaking during the official opening of the conference, Shameel Joosub, Chief Executive Officer for Vodacom Group said: ‘The new evolution today is digitilisation. Our noble ambition is to be a leading digital company that contributes to transforming government's programs such as health, education, municipal services and safety and security.
'We want to be at the cutting edge of technology, and being part of Vodafone affords us this privilege. As part of our digital strategy we are already using big data to personalise the experience of our customers. We invest around R8,7 billion per annum on our network in South Africa to support our mobile operations and Internet of Things connectivity. Artificial Intelligence and robotics are a reality that is upon us. Our noble ambition requires that we also digitalize the company internally by providing agile systems and reskilling our employees.’
What does all this mean for South Africans? Vodacom’s resolve is to move together with communities, not to leave them behind. The company continues to empower the youth and teachers with ICT skills because, if teachers are not empowered, how are they expected to share knowledge effectively? Vodacom’s partnership with government, SMMEs in the ICT sector and big companies such as Cisco and Microsoft continues to be valuable in the social development programs.
Shameel wished the participants a highly effective session over the two days and invited them to visit some of Vodacom's technology facilities.
Cisco has been hosting the Cisco Networking Academy Instructor Conference for the last 20 years. The Conference hosts over 180 delegates. The event serves to upskill instructors in new technology and market trends. All instructors, institutions and academies were also recognised for their performance during an awards evening on the first day of the conference, Tuesday, 9 May 2017.
In 2013, Vodacom Foundation, in partnership with Cisco, launched the Vodacom Youth Academy in order to empower unemployed young people with ICT skills.
The skills training programme seeks to equip the unemployed youth with relevant ICT skills to assist with the installation of IT equipment as well as provide instruction in high-end computer skills. As part of the initiative the participants received skills training in A+, N+ and 3G connectivity, CCNA and IT security.
For the financial year ended 31 March 2017, a total of 367 youth across the country have already received much-needed training and received work-experience in various government institutions.
Following the training, some of the youth will be able to support the network of schools connected via the Vodacom Mobile Education programme as well as engage in reselling of Vodacom products and the developing of mobile applications or mobile apps.
Since the inception of the Vodacom Academy programme in 2013, Vodacom Foundation has trained a total of 972 unemployed young people across the country.