Presented by Nokia

Forge Academy launched to drive 4IR skills in South Africa

Forge Academy, powered by Nokia in partnership with Business Finland and EduExcellence, has officially been launched with a six-week evaluation Boot Camp after which the shortlisted candidates will be offered a seat in the programme.

The academy was established to provide students and entrepreneurs access to an incubator that has industry relevant accredited courseware, hardware and platforms along with hands on experiences.

This will position them for current Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and digital media opportunities so they can shape opportunities for themselves in this new Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) economy.

According to Pat Wiehahn, head of strategic relations and transformation at Nokia South Africa, this is just the beginning of a multi-year journey to support bridging the digital divide and advancing the 4IR Army.

“This journey has been broken into three steps, kicking off with the launch of Forge Academy on the 25th of November, with Nokia supporting it to become the blue ribbon 4IR Academy in South Africa and Africa,” Wiehahn said.

“By releasing Nokia industry standard training on technology to complement current courses all programs are being SAQA and MICT accredited,” she noted.

More partnerships incoming

Nokia is also establishing partnerships with leading technology and skills developers, such as EduExcellence known for Finnish action-oriented pedagogical models for skills development and industry collaboration, to develop content and new teaching methods for South Africa.

Additional partnerships, such as bringing leading European AI training programmes to South Africa via the academy will be announced soon.

“Next Nokia will enable the Academy with an end-to-end Future X Network to support hands-on testing and application development and the third step will be to focus on incubation and start-up support,” Wiehahn explained.

“Nokia is extremely excited about this journey to support the whole value chain from training to testing to business incubation and launch and look forward to the opportunities that Forge Academy will create for all South Africans in an inclusive digital economy age,” she said.

Where to find Forge Academy

Forge Academy is located at The Gantry in Fourways, Johannesburg, but has virtual reach into several labs as well as every single home, office/garage user who wants to log into its virtual presence online.

“Selection criteria for students to participate in the programme is strict to ensure that we get high quality learners who have a passion for ICT,” Wiehahn said.

“Most of the students on the ­­first intake already have an IT qualification – either a National Certificate, Diploma or a Degree in some IT field.”

“We have also partnered with local high schools to identify top students taking computer studies in Grade 12, but don’t have the resources or funds to continue their studies after completing their national exams this year,” she stated.

Building the right skill sets

The objective is to develop skill sets within the next generation of engineers, technologists, entrepreneurs and job titles still to be created in the years to come to ensure that South Africans are well prepared to take up their rightful place in the local economy.

“The existing mismatch between youth skills and employer needs threatens to become even wider as Industry 4.0 transforms business and jobs faster than workers can adapt,” added Wiehahn.

“Forge Academy will equip students with the knowledge, skills and attributes needed to fill this skills gap and thrive in their careers,” Wiehahn said.

Students will be able to provide start-up businesses with support on digital marketing and advertising as part of their workplace experience.

This will enable start-up businesses the opportunity to get affordable social media and digital advertising for their business.

“With an entrepreneurial mindset we assist students to start their own business by the time they complete their studies ensuring sustainability and contribution to the economy,” Wiehahn concluded.

The first course starts on 4 January 2021.

Click here to learn more about courses available from Forge Academy.

This article was published in partnership with Nokia.

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Forge Academy launched to drive 4IR skills in South Africa