People 'n' Issues

Funding for IT skills in SA

September 18th, 2015
WeThinkCode_, a new peer-to-peer institution dedicated to eliminating the IT skills gap, has been launched in South Africa with a three-year founding sponsorship from First National Bank, BBD and Derivco.  

WeThinkCode_ “identifies and trains brilliant young minds to become world-class programmers in a peer-to-peer problem solving learning environment”, says the company. In partnership with Ecole 42 in France (, WeThinkCode_ will open its first campus in January 2016 in Johannesburg. Tuition-free, the organisation partners with companies to sponsor the two-year course and ensure a sustainable business model.

As Founding Sponsors; FNB, BBD and Derivco will provide financial support for the launch of the programme and will play a role in ensuring the curriculum stays relevant to the industry. Students will also be able to interact with sponsors through internship opportunities and projects throughout their coursework.

The three founding sponsorships add to a number of South African and international companies who have joined WeThinkCode_ as corporate sponsors, ensuring the opening of the Johannesburg campus for the first 100 students in January 2016.

A WeThinkCode_ statement this week said: “The breadth of support we are receiving is a testament to the need for a new education model to source and train highly skilled software engineers in South Africa. There are 3.4 million unemployed youth in South Africa, and we believe that within this pool, there is immense talent and aptitude to become world-class developers.”

Marcel Klaassen, Head of Growth at FNB Business, explained the company’s purpose in the sponsorship: “This partnership supports FNB’s market leading ecosystem of innovative banking products, services, value adds and high growth entrepreneurial businesses. The unique coding education model also offers new job opportunities for aspiring IT experts, regardless of financial means or background. We look forward to working with the dynamic team at WeThinkCode_ and investing in the future of tech education in South Africa.”

Peter Searle, BBD CEO echoed these thoughts: “At BBD we know that the aptitude to be a programmer is not necessarily aligned to formal computer science training, and hence WeThinkCode’s unique and disruptive approach to identifying and training talent is for BBD a compelling proposition to support our efforts to develop programming as a key skill in South Africa. BBD’s sponsorship of WeThinkCode is aligned to our own strategic need for additional programming skills and to our ongoing community based efforts to develop IT skills in South Africa.”

“Derivco is honoured to be part of a programme that is rooted in the power of education and aimed at the betterment of South Africans,” said Dion Hatton, Derivco CEO. “The dynamic partnership with WeThinkCode_ has given us an invaluable opportunity to pursue our passion of developing people. The software development industry is rapidly expanding in South Africa and it is an exciting place to be.”

Created by four young entrepreneurs, WeThinkCode_ is designed to respond to the desperate IT skills shortage and lack of education opportunities in South Africa. The programme is free and open to all talented and resilient candidates aged 17 to 35, regardless of previous education, socio-economic background or financial means. Student applications open on 1 October 2015, to apply sign up on

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