Swindon Property has partnered with WeThinkCode_, a peer-to-peer tech institution dedicated to eliminating the IT skills gap in South Africa, to provide a year of rent and obligation free space which will be used as the campus for their second-year students due to space constraints that Covid-19 has posed.
The WeThinkCode_ programme is free and open to all talented candidates aged seventeen to thirty-five, regardless of education, socio-economic background, or financial means. Students are trained to become world-class software programmers and developers in a peer-to-peer problem solving learning environment and then placed in a job once they have graduated.
Since launching their Cape Town campus in 2018, demand for their offering has increased, recruiting 150 new students in 2021 who begin their studies at the V&A Waterfront campus in September. However, due to social distancing restrictions, the donation will enable them to provide a sufficient, safe space for all their first and second-year Cape Town students.
“The 400m2 building has been standing empty for a while, which is something we have seen across the board due to the pandemic with low occupancy rates in and around the city centre. When we heard that WeThinkCode_ wanted to expand into Woodstock and they were looking to funders for assistance, we jumped onboard. While many businesses are cutting down on the space they require for employees, campuses for WeThinkCode_ are needing more of it” says Andrew Dewey, Managing Director of Swindon Property.
Dylan Richts is the Head of Partnerships at WeThinkCode_ explains: “What the hard lockdowns have shown us during the past year is that enabling young people through digital training in the South African context means more than just providing them with a laptop and data so they can work remotely. For many South Africans, having a safe, conducive, work environment, particularly for those from underserved communities, is not a given but it is critical to maintain performance in programmes like ours. The offer of this space from Swindon Property, free of charge and any obligation, enables us to support all of our students to have a safe space to work from while meeting social distancing requirements.”
For many young South Africans education is a way out of poverty, but with more jobs requiring digital skills this sector is facing a crisis. According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC, World Bank), by 2030, 230 million jobs will require digital skills in Africa and considering the current situation around the Covid-19 pandemic, these numbers will possibly increase due to a significant rise in the demand for digital tools and processes. The new second year campus is situated in the vibey, eclectic suburb of Woodstock, just five minutes from the city centre and within easy reach of public transport.
“We are excited about this partnership not only because we are able to assist young people achieve their dreams, but we’re able to play a role in promoting gender diversity in the workplace which is something that is also close to the heart of WeThinkCode_. Just as more women are leading the way as senior brokers within our organisation, one of the big reasons WeThinkCode_ appealed to us is their commitment to reach gender parity in their training through their WomenThinkCode_ initiative” notes Dewey.