Dell South Africa, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) and the CSIR, announced their Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Equity Equivalent program with the establishment of an ICT academy. This academy will focus on developing leading edge high performance computing (HPC) skills, complemented by business management and entrepreneurial and life skills.
The establishment of this academy has been informed by many interventions of which the following two have been pivotal. Firstly, Dell’s history of transformation is aligned to the B-BBEE codes of good practice and the organizations holistic approach to all elements of the codes has had a meaningful impact on the lives of many in South Africa. Secondly, a strategic partnership with the CSIR, and particularly the CHPC, has provided a proven track record of the impact technology has on the lives of the youth in South Africa.
As an equity equivalent investment, this initiative meets government objectives on multiple levels with regards to multinational organizations operating in South Africa to actively participate in the economy, fast-track the growth of previously disadvantaged youth, contribute towards new venture creation as well as skills and infrastructure development.
According to the Deputy Director-General of Incentives Administration at the Department of Trade and Industry Ms Malebo Mabitje-Thompson, “This event marks another milestone for the evolution of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment policy and in particular the Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP). We are glad that we are launching the seventh B-BBEE equity equivalent project in the history of B-BBEE that will be running for the next ten years.”
The launch of the Dell equity equivalent brings the total investment amount to date of all the approved EEIP to over R1 billion. “Out of the seven approved projects four of them are in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector and it is evident that the ICT sector is important and has a potential to put the country on a global map in terms of technology advancement,” states Mabitje-Thompson.
The Khulisa Academy (which means “nurturing” in isiZulu) will be 100% owned by an educational trust and managed as a separate entity to the Dell subsidiary.
The objectives of the academy, which has been approved by the DTI as an economic program, will focus on the following areas:
• Promote the inclusion of blacks into mainstream technological economic activity with relevant and critical ICT skills and knowledge
• Leading-edge skills, cantered on HPC, and the design of technology infrastructure solutions that are cloud and big data based
• Capitalize on the innovation within Dell globally around these impactful and disruptive technology trends
• Expand the skills set to include business management and entrepreneurial and life skills
• Provide gainful employment opportunities for candidates within the wider ICT community
• Uncover the entrepreneurial potential in the candidates
All of the above elements address the critical socio-economic challenges faced by the ICT industry today.
Annually candidates will be identified to participate in the academy program and will be fully supported and funded by the Dell equity equivalent investment. Candidates will enter into a two year program where they will be mentored and monitored by the project sponsors, project manager and administrative structure – in an environment that will have state-of-the-art technology available to them.
Personal development will be a key tenet of the program, ensuring that each of the candidates develops into a holistic, socially aware individual who reaches their fullest potential.
These candidates will receive a salary while participating in the program, and all will be assisted with employment thereafter. In addition, deserving candidates will be supported in the start-up of their own businesses after the completion of this program. The program is structured to support practical workplace experience and offer candidates access to critical and scarce skill sets.
The candidates that will participate in the program will be selected from black graduates and qualifying matriculants. Every effort will be made to select individuals from rural communities.
According to Stewart van Graan, MD of Dell South Africa, “By giving the candidates an opportunity to solve unique and complex business issues, the program has the potential to make a real difference in South Africa as it addresses an area that can have a significant impact on the economy, and on the lives of many South Africans. We are committed to making a difference in the country we call home.”