Samsung Electronic's Galaxy A50 is seen on display at a Samsung store in Seoul
CAPE TOWN -  In response to the current technology skills challenge in South Africa, University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Samsung have partnered to create a lab to train local young people with technology skills. 

The 6-month Future-Innovation Lab programme will focus on the development of software development skills and portfolios that can open doors to employment or further training; the development of transferable skills and experience in digital social innovation, and the fostering of pathways into industry networks.

In addition to the six-month development experience, Samsung and UWC partnered with the Microsoft AppFactory to deliver an advanced nine-month software development programme to address the gap of high-demand software skills. The target group for this programme is more experienced software developers who lack practical or work experience. The programme is aimed at facilitating hands-on, real-world experience through creativity and fun in a learning and working environment.  

Commenting on this new development Professor Tyrone Pretorius who serves as the UWC Rector and Vice Chancellor had this to say, “UWC is honoured to enter into this partnership that will, undoubtedly prepare students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The University takes pride in empowering and growing the skill set of the communities it serves. We therefore look forward to the new projects and co-operation between Samsung, Microsoft and DTI,”

The Future-Innovation Lab currently has 40 students, who are supported with stipends.The next phase of this R&D Academy project is about to launch in January 2020, with a newly designed Future-Innovation Lab training course focused on building digital innovation skills of unemployed South African youth. This course will enable young people to become social innovators and make a difference in communities. Unemployed matriculants and graduates with a strong interest in digital technology and innovation, can benefit from this full-time programme. 

According to the innovation lab mangers mathematics and some software development experience would be beneficial but is not compulsory. The programme forms part of Samsungs efforts to empower local talent especially previously disadvantaged communities. 

Highlighting the value of this programme for Samsung, Hlubi Shivanda who is the Director of Business Innovation Corporate Affairs at Samsung South Africa had this to say “We believe our EEIP strategy will help alleviate the many challenges the nation faces. This exciting stage of the rollout through the R&D Academy affirms our commitment to growing South Africa through education and we have dedicated the necessary resources and time to create possibilities, which were once merely a dream,”.

The Future-Innovation Lab’s Digital Social Innovation for Impact course (commencing on the 20th of January 2020) which forms part of the programme is currently open to 40 students, who will be supported with stipends. Interested youth are invited to submit applications by the 22nd of November 2019.

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