The world of work as we know it is changing in ways we can’t even comprehend right now. This presents an interesting problem because in order to prepare for the future we need to be able to gauge what it may hold.

This is where the Explore Data Science Academy (EDSA) comes into play. The institution offers courses in data science, machine learning, data engineering and more with a focus on the practical application of skills taught in the classroom.

The key premise of EDSA is to teach students the critical thinking and problem solving skills that will help them even if current jobs we have today, disappear.

In order to do this however, EDSA needs to reach more students and that is where organisations such as Cell C come into play.

For its part, Cell C will be funding the skills development of 24 young men and women from around South Africa who display high-levels of aptitude in Mathematics and Science.

These students will take part in a yearlong program where they will ultimately qualify as ICT innovators and potentially employed as Data Scientists, Engineers and Software Developers at Cell C.

“Explore Data Science Academy is delighted to be adding Cell C to its growing list of corporate sponsors. With Explore’s post-graduation employment record of 93%, we believe that Cell C is helping to make a meaningful difference to inclusive youth employment and adding valuable talent to its organization,” said chief commercial officer at EDSA, Mark Schroeder.

In 2018, EDSA received over 10 000 applications from potential students but only 100 were selected. Of those 100, 97 went on to graduate and 93 were employed. The average salary of those students sits at around R350 000 according to Schroeder.

The application process involves an aptitude test, interview and a coding bootcamp before the selection is even made. EDSA says it values skills in Mathematics and critical thinking above Matric results as an agile mindset will ultimately become more valuable than teachable skills.

“We are committed to creating relevant skills development opportunities that will allow the youth of South Africa to thrive in the 4th Industrial Revolution,” says chief human capital development and transformation officer at Cell C, Juliet Mhango.

The Cell C head adds that 10 of the students enrolled in the course are Cell C employees and this forms part of the firm’s wider goal of upskilling its employees.

“Globally and in South Africa, there is a growing demand for digital skills with an ability to solve real-world problems. This partnership enables that demand to be met in an efficient and innovative model with benefits for the learners, Cell C and ultimately our country. These partnerships enable young South Africans to do amazing things,” concluded Schroeder.