Meet Ghana’s Codetrain, the latest addition to Africa’s cohort of coding schools

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Ghana’s Codetrain, which runs in-person software training bootcamps for young people and matches them with employers, says it has an 81 per cent placement rate from its mentoring programme.

Founded by Richard Brandt, Codetrain offers an intensive six-month, in-person practical training programme based on industry-simulated projects out of its two training centres in Ghana.

It prepares students for the modern workplace by teaching them essential soft skills such as teamwork, taking feedback, ethics and values, as well as coding skills. At the end of the programme, Codetrain graduates showcase apps they have built to employers and recruitment agencies at a demo day.

“After the demo day, we match our students with companies for internships and job openings. Even after they are matched to companies, we have a continuous training and mentoring programme to secure their professional growth,” Brandt told Disrupt Africa.

Of the almost 400 developers that have taken part in this mentoring programme, 81 per cent have gone on to secure job placements. Brandt says Codetrain has also trained over 10,000 students via mini training bootcamps in universities and schools. 

The business came about after Brandt struggled to find qualified interns for his software consulting business, with even the best candidates lacking practical project experience. 

“So I selected a group of students from various universities and a few high school graduates, and started teaching them how to code. The results were amazing, and one remarkable thing was that their friends kept asking if they could also join the training. That is when I knew that I was doing something that had high impact potential,” he said. 

He quit his business, and founded Codetrain from his house in July 2017. Now, the company is a team of 11 with facilities in both Accra and Kumasi. Brandt says students fly in from neighbouring African countries just to get a Codetrain education. 

“The African tech scene is booming with a high demand for software developers. However, there is a mismatch between demand and supply. We are not training enough people to get the practical skills that companies demand to start a career in coding, mainly because the education system is based on theory,” he said.

With its more practical approach, Codetrain addresses that issue. Self-funded until now, the company is now looking for external investment opportunities after validating its model. Brandt has ambitions beyond Ghana.

“We are already getting a high number of requests from students in neighbouring African countries, with some of them flying in from Nigeria, The Gambia, Cameroon and Liberia to join Codetrain in Ghana. We plan to expand across Africa to extend the Codetrain opportunity to people in other countries,” he said.

Codetrain charges its students fees to take part in its programmes, and Brandt said building a big enough reputation to secure enough paying customers was an early challenge.

“It was tough starting out because the education space is based on established reputation and track record, so it was not easy to get people to join the programme in the initial stages,” he said. 

“However, things got better after successfully training students and matching them to jobs and showing that they can transform their lives by acquiring practical skills. Codetrain now represents a new way of thinking amongst students, with a new mindset to be globally competitive in today’s tech-driven modern world.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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