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Lewis Group partners with redAcademy to help young South Africans sprint into IT careers

RedAcademy, the standalone software development training academy which was launched by redPanda Software, has announced its partnership with Lewis Group, designed to give high-school graduates the opportunity to fast-track their IT careers with real-life experience on actual projects within the South African retail giant. The academy's first programme commenced on 1 June 2022.
Jessica Hawkey, managing director at redAcademy
Jessica Hawkey, managing director at redAcademy

RedAcademy MD, Jessica Hawkey, says the partnerships it signs with South African enterprises are to fast-track the careers of young people in the face of crippling youth unemployment.

“Our mission is to provide real opportunities for young people while developing a sustainable pipeline of employable software developers to benefit redPanda Software, its clients, the IT industry at large, and the South African economy. With this in mind, the partnership with Lewis Group, one of the most recognisable enterprise brands in the country, allows us to expose these young talented people, who we call sprinters, to the dynamism and vigours of real-life programming,” says Hawkey.

Lewis Group, a valued partner of redPanda Software which manages its enterprise software development, is a proudly South African company committed to supporting and uplifting young people who may not have the opportunity to study in formal tertiary education. Beyond that, it sees the strategic value for the country in fast-tracking young people onto the career ladder.

Arno Geldenhuys, head of information technology for Lewis Group says that the partnership gives the Group a tangible way of uplifting South African youth. “A good corporate citizen has a responsibility to contribute to communities and redAcademy gives us an exciting opportunity to make a meaningful difference in kick-starting IT careers for young people. In light of the high youth unemployment rate at 66.5% in Q3 of 2021 and the skills shortage in industries such as software development, partnering with redAcademy allows us to contribute to uplifting young people while developing a skilled pipeline of young talent. This partnership was a natural evolution and follows on the fruitful relationship we have with redPanda Software.”

The sprinters will work in the live environment, alongside experienced IT professionals of all levels. The benefit of this, says Hawkey, is that the lecture room is swapped out for the high-paced environment of enterprise software development. “This is designed to fast-track their careers because from day one they learn the responsibility of teamwork, accountability and the pursuit of excellence.”

What sets the course apart from others is that it offers relevant and up-to-date skills development and on-the-job training to guarantee employment if the sprinters complete the year in good standing.

“There is an almost insatiable demand for skills in the IT sector broadly, and in our sector specifically, and so this partnership represents a solid step towards providing supply for that demand. On the other hand, our partners get the opportunity to make a meaningful impact in young peoples’ lives, especially in light of joblessness among our youth. By the end of their sprint, these young people will have gathered invaluable experience, making them prime candidates to walk into IT careers,” says Hawkey.

Powered by retail software developer redPanda Software, redAcademy is a stand-alone organisation with a clear goal: give carefully chosen, talented South Africans the opportunity to sprint into their IT careers.

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