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African Education Week looks at how to meet the skills demand in the workplace

IBM creates a Software Career Training programme to meet industry requirements (June 15, 2011)
DMN Newswire--2011-6-15--

One of the key issues facing South African FET colleges and universities is the need to align courses with the demand for skills in the workplace.  This is according to Claire O'Connell, project director of the upcoming African Education Week, taking place from 6-8 July in Johannesburg, gathering some 1600 education professionals for the largest education convention and expo on the continent. 


Says Claire O'Connell:  "it is vital that when students finish their education they are equipped with the necessary skills to get a job and become productive members of the workforce.   There is a pressing need to align 3rd level courses with the needs of the workplace as well as buy-in from industry.  This will also improve student retention in the country as well as South Africa's global competitiveness when it comes to its education institutions and the skilled workforce that these produce."


IBM's Software Career Training

"The IT industry goes through constant transformation, creating new and exciting opportunities for enterprises and individuals.  Upskilling one's technical and business knowledge with the right education enables one to stay relevant and tap into growing opportunities", says Bernadine Jeffrey, IBM's Training Manager, Software Group, Sub-Saharan Africa.  During African Education Week, a separate track is dedicated to Further and Higher Education, with the support of the global software giant. 


IBM has rolled out a Software Career Training (SCT) programme to enable IT professionals to stay up-to-date in the industry.  Says Bernadine Jeffrey: "the SCT curriculum brings together the latest software content, strong technical foundation, real-world industry experience, hands-on lab courses and best practices, all into a single unique education programme."   She continues:  "The IBM SCT programme consists of two tracks, the Foundation Series and the Specialization Series.  Both are designed to meet the needs for both early- and mid-career professionals, offering continuous professional education". 


During the Further and Higher Education track at African Education Week, IBM will chair a session on "Aligning further education programmes with the needs of the workplace.


More highlights include:

* Vocational education and training: addressing higher learner retention at FET colleges and universities - Zimbabwean case study

- Munyaradzi Alexander Zengeya, Chairman, Department of Adult Education, University of Zimbabwe

* On the path to adulthood - how to prepare learners for the workplace

- Ravi Bhat, IBM Sales & Distribution, Group Executive Sub Saharan Africa

* Building maths and science in Africa: new initiatives for high level skills development

- Barry Green, Director & Professor of Mathematics, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, South Africa

* Bridging the skills gap through quality education for all - identifying key output for a quality education and preparation for Higher Education

- Gwebinkundla Qonde, Acting Director-General, Department of Higher Education & Training, South Africa

African Education Week is for anyone who is involved in Education:  teachers, principals, curriculum planners, advisors, FET college and university faculty heads, deans, lectures, campus heads and ICT managers, along with suppliers of educational products.

"Bridging the skills gap through quality education for all" is the theme for this year's event, which will provide a forum for over 1600 attendees from across Africa to discuss the critical issues affecting schools, FET colleges and universities and exchange ideas and solutions.


Event dates and location: 

Conference and exhibition:  7-8 July 2011

Pre-conference workshops:  6 July 2011

Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg

Event website:


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Related Keywords:African Education Week, Johannesburg, South Africa, IBM, FET colleges and universities, training, skills shortages

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