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Samsung and UWC strengthen partnership to tackle youth skills development

The first graduates of the Samsung Future-Innovation Lab at the University of the Western Cape begin pioneering careers in ICT

The Samsung Future-Innovation Lab is aimed at discovering and developing young people's full potential.
The Samsung Future-Innovation Lab is aimed at discovering and developing young people's full potential.
Image: Supplied/Samsung

After the launch of Samsung’s R280m Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP), Samsung SA and the University of the Western Cape (UWC) officially opened the Samsung Future-Innovation Lab on the UWC campus in Cape Town in March 2020. 

The Future-Innovation Lab aims to provide an opportunity to previously disadvantaged youth (age 18 to 35) to gain skills in software development and digital social innovation.

Samsung SA, in partnership with UWC, launched the web and mobile software development training programme which focuses on building digital innovation skills for unemployed youth in SA. Aligned with Samsung’s global mission of “enabling people”, the Samsung Future-Innovation Lab is aimed at discovering and developing young people’s full potential.

With software development skills highly sought-after in the digital economy, Samsung considers it an important part of its educational initiatives. Seventy-four students took advantage of this life-changing opportunity, worked hard and achieved success as part of the first cohort of the programme. Several of these students have already been successful in finding entry-level software development positions in the industry.

The second cohort of the Future-Innovation programme is entering the final phase of their training. They have been upskilled in digital software development skills, design thinking, digital product development, user experience design and various other skills required to develop digital products to address social challenges. 

Student Tegwen Galant says: “When I started this course I was very anxious as I was trying to find my feet and make my mark in the tech world. I didn’t really know what to expect. However, my experience has been amazing. I gained more knowledge, both professionally and personally. The growth I see in myself in this short time of being on this course is exceptional. I’m sad that this course is coming to an end but am so grateful that I could be a part of this opportunity.

“It’s great to know this platform exists and will help ease unemployment. No words can explain how truly thankful and blessed I am to have been exposed to so many great people and even greater leaders.”

Samsung and UWC's Microsoft AppFactory to deliver this advanced nine-month software development programme.
Samsung and UWC's Microsoft AppFactory to deliver this advanced nine-month software development programme.
Image: Supplied/Samsung

Student Mikaela Gabriel says: “The Samsung FIL [Future-Innovation Lab] experience has simply been life-changing. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine an opportunity like this could happen to me. Looking back on my first day on August 12 2020 I remember having mixed feelings, but my gut told me that this was about to change my life. 

“I have not only acquired a new skill set but this course has also helped me grow in more ways than I ever knew I would. ‘Hard work pays off’ has definitely a new meaning to me. There were challenging days but the entire world was going through those challenges with Covid-19, this taught me to never give up. The course helped me realise that the sky’s the limit and whatever we put our hearts and mind to we can achieve.”

Sibusiso Labi, 20, from the Western Cape, was among the thousands of child-headed households in SA who refused to be a statistic. At the age of 18, he found a job as a packer at a supermarket distribution centre. A year later he resigned to pursue his dream of becoming a web developer. He has been recognised as the top student on the Samsung Future-Innovation Lab. 

With his excellent course results and practical software development skills, he and six other aspiring developers are now ready for the next step in their career and will enter the Samsung EEIP AppFactory in partnership with Microsoft SA. UWC will host this nine-month programme of applied skills training and building of software products to raise the prospects of employment or digital entrepreneurship. 

The first cohort of the Samsung EEIP AppFactory will soon graduate from their nine-month internship programme. They have been coached and mentored by industry experts and their final software projects are focused on robotic process automation technologies.

One of the programme’s interns, Luyanda Dingindela, successfully attained his Microsoft `Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3 certification. All students are supported to continuously build their development portfolios.

Recruitment for the new cohort of AppFactory interns are open

The AppFactory applies a hands-on approach to skills development with real project owners, real projects and fully dedicated mentorship by experienced master software craftsmen directly from the industry. The programme is looking for passionate interns to exercise writing code every day, practice modern techniques and clean code, and research new technologies and share them with their peers.

This advanced nine-month software development programme aims to address the software skills gap. It’s a work-based internship, writing software solutions for clients and mentored by senior software developers. The target group for this programme is more experienced software developers who lack practical or work experience. It facilitates hands-on, real-world experience through creativity and fun, in a learning and working environment.

Promising and aspiring software developers can apply to join the UWC AppFactory here >>>

The applicants must 

  • be between 18 and 35;
  • be a SA citizen;
  • have matric or a senior certificate; 
  • not be currently studying (either full nor part time); and 
  • have a programming qualification.

For more information on the Samsung EEIP AppFactory and to apply, click here>>> 

For more information on the six-month Future-Innovation programme and to apply for the next cohort, click here >>> 

For any questions e-mail Dominique Goch at colab@uwc.ac.za.

This article was paid for by Samsung.