The WeThinkCode_ coding school is set to launch in South Africa in a bid to tackle youth unemployment and answer the ICT skills shortage in the country.
Applications to the inaugural WeThinkCode_ course are set to open on October 1, and the first two-year coding course will kick off in Johannesburg in January 2016.
Shortlisted applicants will first be asked to complete an aptitude test, following which successful candidates will be invited to participate in an intensive four week bootcamp. Only after this will a group of candidates progress to the two-year coding course, which will result in participants graduating as world-class software engineers.
The co-founders of WeThinkCode_ said the school is being launched to transform tech education and bridge the gap between undeveloped talent and the ICT skills shortage in South Africa.
“There are 3.5 million unemployed youth in South Africa. We believe that among these youth we will find that there exists immense talent and aptitude to become world class developers and all we need to do is give them the opportunity to become so,” said Yossi Hasson, South African entrepreneur and co-founder of WeThinkCode_.
Empowering youth is a key facet of the programme, with the founders saying they were inspired to launch the programme by the belief that Africa’s youthful population presents huge potential to transform Africa into a key player on the global digital marketplace.
“If we are successful with WeThinkCode_, we will be able to show the world that given the opportunity, Africa’s youth have the talent to drive the continent’s growth. I am convinced that the rise of the digital economy is Africa’s chance to compete globally leveraging its most precious commodity, its youth,” says Camille Agon, co-founder.
The founders said they hope to encourage the growth of a larger knowledge and skills-based economy in South Africa, as opposed to relying on the manual labour sector to stem unemployment.
“As a country it we have to become more competitive on a macroeconomic level – to do that, I think we need to increase our base of knowledge workers, and not just rely on manual labour. Manual labour alone can not solve our unemployment crisis. The growth of many IT related businesses are constrained by the lack of IT skills, by lifting these constraints it will inevitably lead to more economic growth,” co-founder and South African entrepreneur Justinus Adriaanse said.
The first cohort beginning in 2016 will comprise 100 students – a number the founders hope to scale up to 1,000 students per year by 2018.
Those interested can already register their interest online, with applications set to open officially on October 1.