With South Africa’s unemployment rising to 27.2 percent in the last quarter, it is an accomplishment to see that the Western Cape government is not sitting idly by, creating the Interactive Community Access Network (I-CAN) centre in Cape Town.

The Western Cape provincial government and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (Dedat) has invested in a multi-million rand initiative to help the residents of Cape Town with bringing digital skills to the fore.

Dedat has invested over 10 million in the I-CAN centre in which 50 percent of the funding is allocated in refurbishing the old multi-purpose building in Elsies River.

Objectives of the centre

The I-CAN centre was launched in 2014, for Capetonians to have access to digital skills that they previously would have never had. The centre has provided entrepreneurs with the digital services to enhance their businesses as well as offering workshops to empower citizens to draft their professional CV’s, notes Judah Scholtz, I-CAN centre coordinator.

The centre is managed by a non-profit organisation (NPO) Genesis community IT initiative.

This initiative is one of the reasons the City of Cape Town was able to grow the employment rate by five percent in the previous quarter. The centre offers free courses, funded courses as well as paid courses. To all residents that are registered at the centre they receive free limited 300MB of data per month and internet usage of 45 minutes.

Programs offered by the centre

  • Commercial Zone – printing, scanning, laminating and faxing.
  • Learn Zone – computer basics, Microsoft Office specialist, google apps and essential business skills.
  • Create Zone – mobile app development, web design, web development and computer programming.
  • Play Zone – intro into gaming, gaming development and build online games.

The number of attendees as of February 2018 was 36 843, the number of students who were empowered with the free courses offered was 449, with the number of students empowered by the funded course at 761 and those empowered by the paid courses sitting at 197 since its inception.

“The I-CAN centre is making a significant impact in improving access to opportunities. Some of the past students have been employed at the centre, while others have found employment through the contacts they have made through the centre,” said the provincial minister of economic opportunities Alan Winde, late last year when he visited the centre.

We hope that there will be more of these centres popping up around the country to help empower learners with the much-needed skills in the digital space.