In a first for the province, three KwaZulu Natal technology students have completed their National Certificate in System Support NQF Level 5, a 12-month learnership Programme offered by Bytes People Solutions. They then went on to complete their Microsoft MCITP Server Administration Certification on their own accord to further enhance their skills.
The three learners, Cyril Basker, SiphoNgcobo and Nkanyiso Mbambo are the first students to have attained both qualifications at the same time, in one year, with portions of their studies funded by Microsoft, HP and Bytes People Solutions.
"This is a remarkable achievement,' says Wayne Smith, branch manager, Durban, Bytes People Solutions. "All three displayed enormous initiative and commitment to their studies. As a result, they have not only gained a national qualification, but they are also Microsoft Certified IT Professionals (MCITPs). In a country where IT skills are in scarce supply, this bodes well for their future employment opportunities and for employers in the industry too.'
Bytes People Solutions? learnership programme, which Smith describes as a type of incubator, has both academic and practical components. The company aims to address one of the biggest problems in the IT industry today, which is that learners who have completed their tertiary studies often have difficulty finding employment as they have no work experience.
"The 12-month learnership comprises four months of academic work, followed by eight months of on-the-job training,' says Smith. "During this time, students undergo extensive technical training. The programme is much more real-world oriented than many others. Our students have intensive boot camp training to fast-track them for success. As a result, they enter the workplace with a distinct advantage.'
Gaining practical work experience gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and abilities to the companies that provide employment for them during the learnership. "Many of our learners have their contracts extended or are offered full-time employment,' says Smith.
Students selected for Bytes People Solutions? learnerships are chosen based on the technical training they have completed, as well as their skills, and their ability to communicate and fit into the workplace. " Weassess candidates carefully as a year-long training programme is a big investment from both sides, says Smith.
Another Durban student who is in the process of completing a learnership with Bytes People Solutions is TalisaLalthapersad, a 22-year-old who is deaf. She has completed the academic component and is now employed at Altech UEC where she is gaining practical work experience.
Bytes People Solution has a long-standing track record in ICT training, with more than 1000 people a year passing through its doors, 59% of them female.