Jessica Hawkey, managing director at redAcademy, says: “We are creating and operating in an area where there is a dire skills shortage and are confident in our ability to upskill and bridge the gap between skills and opportunities for employment. We guarantee job placements to all those who complete our experiential learnership programme," says Hawkey.
RedAcademy is deliberate in its endeavour to address unemployment, especially amongst the youth, as this will address an urgent need that the country is grappling with. To achieve this, the organisation believes that a paradigm shift is required in the way of learning.
In South Africa, each year, more and more matriculants enter the tertiary education market and, at the same time and at a similar pace, graduates are entering the job market. In the current state of SA’s economy, multiple factors impact parents and their children that seek to meaningfully enter and participate in the economy. Whether within the realm of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) or on the outside – parent funded – most tertiary qualifications, like a matric certificate, are most likely to offer very little in terms of securing jobs.
This is largely due to employers insisting on practical work experience and specific soft skills in addition to the knowledge gained in any given area of expertise. Employers want value for money and many seek appointees that can hit the ground running so to speak – to create bang for their wage bill. An ever-present catch 22 that has many of our youth begging the question 'How can I gain work experience if nobody will take a chance on me?'
Perhaps, like many employers, parents too need to adopt a craving for instant gratification. How can they invest affordably in skills training for their dependents that will include both the hard and soft skills required for work readiness, and expose them to live project participation that builds the necessary work experience capacity, all at the same time?
“We call our year-long programme a career sprint because it quite literally does as it sounds. Our academy is offering matriculants more than just skills. Dedicated lecturers and ongoing support and mentorship, from individuals that currently occupy software developer roles, are available to our trainees throughout the programme so that they ultimately enter the job market without a gap between the knowledge and the immediate ability to effectively perform in the workplace,“ says Hawkey.
Key to achieving this is that redAcademy operates within a software organisation. This offers the academy the opportunity to leverage the resources of its host company and that of their clients who comprise the most popular major retail brands in the country.
The redAcademy stance on shifting the manner in which software skills are developed, was carefully considered, not only in terms of teaching the hard and soft skills in tandem but to also fast track matriculants into in-demand careers, in the shortest time possible and at the best value for money.
In July 2013, President Barack Obama tweeted: "If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much ignorance costs in the 21st century." Not an original thought by any measure, but it reminded us of a notion that’s probably been around for more than a 100 years already in some variation or another. Whatever version you may be familiar with, they all speak to the same thing. They reference, in particular, a tertiary education, as there's often a big focus on the cost. The idea being that even though a post high-school skills and knowledge acquisition may be expensive, in the long run it's less expensive than not having such an education at all, as this will severely limit you in terms of career paths and other opportunities.
Sending your child to a good government school in South Africa can cost anywhere from R8,000 to R20,000 per year while private schooling can easily see parents forking out between R30,000 and R70,000 a year. While in the poorest areas of South Africa, parents are exempt from paying school fees, it is noteworthy that in the most expensive private schools in the country, fees can be higher than R200 000 per annum for a grade 12 learner. Whatever the fee structure, in this array of options parents find themselves with, it is likely that the end result is their learner acquiring a matric certificate; one unfortunately that – as previously mentioned – will do little on its own to start any prosperous career.
Earlier this year, the Department of Higher Education and Training has recommended an increase of 4.23% for tuition fees for the 2022 academic year at all 26 South African universities. The long-term stability and sustainability of the post school education and training (PSET) sector relies, in part and to a significant degree, on tuition fee income. PSET also includes colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools.
The recent sharp downturn in our economy – hit hard by the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic – has seen many average middle-class households scrambling to make ends meet. The plight is even worse for those homes that occupy a lower lifestyle measurement. For many families, a child that has just matriculated is considered a symbol of hope; the beginning of a new chapter that may result in some form of financial assistance for the household in the near future but sadly, the number of unemployed graduates in our country tells a different story.
Hawkey says: “The need right now is for urgent in-tandem skills development, in the right career path that will gear students for the workplaces and problem solving professions that the future will increasingly insist on.”
To enquire if your child can be placed successfully in redAcademy’s software development career sprint learnership programme, click here.