RedAcademy MD Jessica Carroll says that the academy’s mission is to provide real opportunities for young people while developing a sustainable pipeline of employable software developers to benefit redPanda Software, its clients and the IT industry at large.
“The youth unemployment rate was at a record 64.4% in the second quarter of 2021. It is clear that talented young South Africans don’t have enough options to start out in IT generally and software development specifically, yet the sector faces a critical skills shortage. This is a paradox we set out to solve,” says Carroll.
“We landed on redAcademy, which is designed to fast-track young people’s careers. Rather than replace existing training academies, redAcademy has been designed to complement efforts to bring more South Africans into the workforce by proactively developing skilled IT professionals. It is the most efficient route from matric to a software development career.”
After being selected to take part in the programme, Sprinters - as redAcademy calls them - will be exposed to a real-world software development environment. “Ultimately, we will develop employable and competent developers, which is why we’ll guarantee jobs for successful sprinters who have adhered to the terms of their contract - things such as attendance, displaying company values and successfully completing industry relevant projects,” says Carroll.
RedPanda Software CEO Gareth Hawkey says that being on the pulse of some of the biggest and most innovative enterprise projects means the business understands where the industry is, where it is going, and which skills it needs, and so opening redAcademy was an obvious next step. “By bringing these young people into our offices, onto site and into our culture, we help them build networks while learning real, practical skills. This programme has one goal - to turbocharge young people’s careers so they can start working, earning, and climbing the software development career ladder.”
Carroll agrees, adding that the redAcademy Sprint programme will comprise six months theory led by a professional lecturer and six months practical. “Our training doesn’t happen in a lecture hall, but in a live office environment. Those that are selected will be guided by senior real-word developers, to develop working solutions for real customers, using the most-used and relevant coding languages. A redAcademy Sprinter graduate will walk into a career - that’s what we think has largely been missing. There is demand for skills, so now it’s about addressing the supply.”
redAcademy invites all young, passionate people who have finished matric to apply for one of the Sprinter positions through making contact via its website. They will undergo a few rounds to ensure that they are a good match for the high-paced environment. “The ideal candidates will have a positive attitude, passion, believe in teamwork, take pride in their work, accept accountability and be problem-solvers. They don’t have to know coding yet - we will teach them that,” says Carroll.