ICT Academy Re-launch affirms T-Systems’ Sustainability Commitment in South Africa
T-Systems has reaffirmed its commitment to sustainability, inclusive transformation, skills development and CSR through the re-launch of its flagship ICT academy near Gandhi Square in Johannesburg.
The new premises have been set up to enable easier access to students from a variety of public transport routes, while also permitting a larger intake of learners to promote the educational transformation even further moving forward.
Previously offered in conjunction with CIDA, the ICT Academy will now fall under the T-Systems Foundation, and is now part of T-Systems shareholding. This permits the ICT Academy to become a more independent entity and align its curriculum with real-world ICT needs and requirements.
“T-Systems in South Africa, in collaboration with other major ICT companies, founded the ICT Academy in 2003,” explained Adre Du Plesss, Vice President Strategy & Transformation at T-Systems in South Africa. “The aim of the academy has always been to address the skills shortage in the ICT industry and make a positive difference in the lives of youth who would otherwise not have the opportunity to further their studies.
“The purpose of the ICT Academy is to create a pool of employable graduates with relevant ICT skills and competencies. This enables the youth to participate and contribute toward sustainable economic growth.”
The curriculum at the ICT academy is made up of 70 percent theory in the form of facilitation-based technical training and 30 percent workplace practical experience, where learners are placed in companies to gain exposure.
Between 2003 and 2013 the ICT Academy produced a total of 1,502 internationally certified IT graduates, with an average pass rate of 95 percent, and an overall employment rate of 85 percent.
In turn, the average student intake has also risen from 96 to 130 in 2014 and the forecast for 2015 is for the number to rise above 200, based on an increased focus on black female students and black students with disabilities.
“Our new premises and larger ICT Academy will enable us to continue to further skills development, offering additional courses to greater numbers of students,” Du Plessis added. “The location of the new academy was carefully chosen for maximum accessibility for students using public transport as well as those with disabilities.
“We will also continue to invest in the upliftment of young women, furthering equality in a predominantly male environment.
Du Plessis concluded: “ICT outsourcing at its heart is all about people, and one of the biggest challenges facing ICT companies in South Africa is a shortage of skilled professionals and specifically skilled professional women.
“Addressing this skills shortage is something we feel passionate about, and with the re-launched ICT Academy we are furthering our ability to create sustainable, effective transformation through ICT innovation.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.