Jessica Hawkey

Red A cademy (PTY)Ltd

What does your company do?

redAcademy has pioneered a new way for South African youth to enter skilled careers in software development. Our innovative skills and experiential learning hub specializes in teaching coding and technology skills. By collaborating with South African businesses facing a massive skills gap, our purpose is to build a sustainable tech talent pipeline for the future. redAcademy has a clear goal: to give carefully chosen, talented South Africans the opportunity to sprint into their IT careers. By giving Sprinters the opportunity to work in a live environment and gain experience on our clients’ own tech stack, we work closely with industry-leading senior developers and our client partners to ensure that Sprinters have the soft skills and work-readiness to step into a career in the tech industry. Through these strategic partnerships, our Career Sprint is designed to fast-track careers in the real world.

What is your biggest success?

It has been incredibly rewarding to have founded and lead an organization addressing the dire youth unemployment rate and IT skills shortage in South Africa, head-on. To date, the biggest success has been obtaining 100% full-time employment in software teams for our graduates, the day after completing their Career Sprint with redAcademy. To me, this is a testament to the value of the program for our client's businesses and the ability to launch highly skilled careers in tech for South African youth.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Educating the market on a new way in which youth can enter highly skilled employment in technology when custom trained for a client's live environment. It takes time to shift market views on historic training methodologies. It has, however, been exciting to showcase the success of this program since and how redAcademy has added 5% to our client's staff complement within 1 year, thereby scaling the business and creating employment for youth.