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Cojedi learners graduate into the digital world

More than 430 young men and women have the information and technology (ICT) world at their feet after successfully completing the City of Johannesburg's Educating Digital internship (COJEDI) programme.

The 432 young people were presented with certificates at the programme's inaugural graduation ceremony at the Johannesburg City Hall on Wednesday November 9.

COJEDI – the result of a partnership between the City of Johannesburg, Microsoft, CISCO, IBM, FibreCo and the Technology Innovation Agency – seeks to develop future digital gurus who could use their skills to contribute to the city's economic growth.  It complements the City's objectives to create a Smart City, one that bridges the digital divide and is globally innovative, applicable and recognised.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development Cllr Sharon Peetz said the ICT sector created many top jobs of the future.  "Coupled with the fact that Johannesburg is an ICT-intensive city, the need to match the workforce with the correct skills required to grow the industry, and in turn the city, is paramount to ensure the positive future of our economy," said MMC Peetz.

Zolani Matebese, the City's Head of Broadband, said the programme's success had exceeded his wildest dreams.  The programme, launched in January 2015, has been divided into four speciality areas: Cisco Certified System Engineering (CCNA), Microsoft Certified System Engineering (MCSE), Certified Fibre Optics Technician and Web Development, and Cloud Computing.  More 4 000 young people had applied for the 510 places on the programme.

The 510 successful candidates entered the programme in two cohorts. The first group of 260 interns began their training in March 2015 at the Sci-Bono Centre, whereas the second group of 250 commenced theirs in August 2015.  

Matebese said almost 85%, or 432, of the 510 candidates had successfully completed the programme and more than 80 of them had already gained permanent employment in organisations such as Dimensions Data, Vumatel and Link Afrika.  Matebese said the programme offered placement and opportunity linkages, which several graduates were in the process of finalising.

Top MCSE achiever Jack Mathiba said the programme was "life altering".  "I'm just so unbelievably excited about what the future holds. I can't believe the positive changes that have come about as a result of being a COJEDI graduate. It has been an opportunity of a lifetime," said Mathiba.

Bryan Jansen, a graduate in the CCNA speciality area, was equally elated.  "Today has finally come and I'm just very proud of what we as a group have achieved," Jansen said.

Nomvula Hlophe, a Web Development and Cloud Computing graduate, said the qualification meant that the sky was the limit for her.  "I'm eternally grateful to the City of Johannesburg and all the partners in the COJEDI programme for this amazing opportunity," she said.

For more information on COJEDI, visit​