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FibreCo’s TechTrain initiative to accelerate fibre skills development

By 14/06/2016 No Comments

Since the inception of its fibre technician training programme in 2012, FibreCo has been steadily growing its commitment towards building capacity in the fibre sector. Now FibreCo is embarking on the next phase of its training programme ‘TechTrain’ which aims to build deeper industry partnerships and further strengthen successful candidates’ ability to gain meaningful employment after graduating.

FibreCo owns and operates a 4000 km fibre-optic network route and carrier-grade equipment hosting facilities that interconnect over 50 points of presence countrywide. These include Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London, amongst many others.

“These young people are the future leaders within our industry.  We want to motivate you to be go-getters with a will to succeed and hope that TechTrain will put you on the right path to success,” Andile Ngcaba, Chairman, FibreCo.

Arif Hussain, CEO FibreCo, says that it is vital to sustain South Africa’s growing fibre-optic industry: “In order to ensure that we can support the rapid roll-out of fibre currently taking place, we need to grow the pool of skilled and qualified fibre-optic technicians citizens’ throughout the country.  These high-speed, high capacity networks are critical to the ability of all South Africans to participate in the benefits offered by the Internet, the digital economy and e-Government services.”

According to a recent talent shortage survey conducted by Manpower, the unemployment rate in South Africa remains one of the highest in the world with 47% of employers citing a lack of technical competency as the biggest obstacle to recruiting new employees. The TechTrain programme is designed to ensure students are mentored, exposed to new skills and gain hands-on experience, providing them with a sound foundation to develop their skill-set and experience for future career development.

The added incentive is that these skills are being deployed into an industry sector where there are clear job creation opportunities.  To date, some 200 technicians have qualified through the programme, resulting in 135 internships and 38 graduates currently appointed on a permanent basis with suppliers and other industry players.

Hussain explains that the programme is accredited in South Africa by MICT Seta and internationally by the Fibre Optic Association (FOA). “TechTrain creates an environment for young unemployed graduates to strive for excellence and enter the job market with the skills to help the fibre industry become more competitive and provide access to high-speed broadband throughout the country,” he says.

“Since the programme’s inception, we envisaged that it had the potential to have a greater impact on a wider scale,” Hussain adds. “As the initiative continues to grow through partnerships with like-minded organisations, our commitment to skills development to bring value to the industry is reaffirmed.”

Partners in TechTrain

“I am very excited to be working with FibreCo, a company that is very close to the training and development of young people. FibreCo does not provide training for the sake of it, but rather an initiative like TechTrain that benefits all.  We look forward to strengthening our relationship with FibreCo and developing more training inititiaves like TechTrain,” Oupa Mopaki – MICT SETA   CEO.

“Training and empowering youth is critical to the future of this country and continent, and it needs to grow from strength to strength. Plessey has laid 16 000 km of fibre across five countries, constructed 13 000 base stations, and we are unable to do this or provide this scale without the necessary skill. Partnering with FibreCo was thus an easy decision as the initiative is vital for the sector,” Laurent Leclercq, CEO, Plessey.

“Saab Grintek has employed 25 TechTrain graduates to date and 18 are active in the field with six who are able to provide all the technical support unsupervised. Telkom have announced the intent to connect another million homes to fibre in the next 3 years. If Saab Grintek is going to get anywhere near the goals set and to achieve what the telecom operators have set out, we need more fibre technicians. We therefore recognise this technician training programme as essential,” Lee Connolly, GM, SAAB Grintek.

“ICT is a fundamental resource necessary for participation in the modern economy. This is one area where we cannot fall behind and that is why the investment in training is so important for us. Globally there is a drive to take Government online and make services available for citizens. The IT industry in this country has not yet begun to blossom to the extent that it needs to if South Africa wants to tender internationally.  That is why I think that the work FibreCo is doing is so important.  FibreCo has a lot to be proud of and we look forward to growing this project to a new level,” David Kramer – Sci-Bono Discovery Centre CEO.