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Partnership unlocks cloud computing opportunities

- Wits University

BCX, Alibaba Cloud and Wits University have partnered to empower students to foster skills for the digital economy in Africa.

The Alibaba Cloud Academic Empowerment Programme is designed to infuse digital excellence into academic institutions worldwide, and Wits is the first university partner to adopt the programme for third-year students in the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics.

The programme includes Alibaba Cloud certifications as part of their BSc Computer Science qualification with the primary intention of equipping graduates with industry sort-after skills and certifications, making them more employable.

The programme officially launched on 22 November 2023 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by all the partners, and the start of the first Wits, BCX & Alibaba Cloud Holiday School programme (22 – 27 November 2023) for the students that will be taking place at Wits.

"Wits is excited to partner with BCX and Alibaba Cloud to bring this opportunity to our students,” says Associate Professor Richard Klein from the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Wits University.

“With the cloud holding many of the emergent 4IR technologies, equipping our graduates with the skills to manage such infrastructure is essential. Furthermore, addressing the digital divide in Africa by driving digital transformation is one of the key strategic priorities for the University in the next decade. To achieve this, working with partners in industry and across sectors to accelerate the learning curve for students and equip them with highly sought-after skillsets is vital.”

The top students from the Academic Empowerment Programme will become a feeder into the BCX Alibaba Cloud graduate programme resulting in the development of a talent pipeline of Alibaba Cloud Engineers for South Africa and Africa as a whole.

“This collaboration is ushering in a new era of innovation and skills development. By introducing Alibaba Cloud as part of the prospectus for BSc Computer Science students, we are not just embracing innovative technology, but also cultivating a generation of forward-thinking individuals equipped with the skills and ability needed to thrive in the digital landscape,” says Jan Bouwer, Chief Solutions Office at BCX.

 “This collaboration symbolises our commitment to empowering students with real-world, industry-relevant knowledge, ensuring they are well-prepared for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Together, we are shaping the future of technology education and fostering a community of innovators ready to lead in the dynamic world of cloud computing," he adds.

The programme is structured for students to learn, experiment, and accelerate through online learning, online labs, classroom training, and certification.

The benefits to the students are:

  • Industry recognised certification which would attract the attention of potential employers.
  • Highly sought-after skillsets required by the industry (Cloud Computing).
  • Exposure to the newest Alibaba Cloud technology via courses and our events.
  • Continuous self-paced learning via the academy portal, where there are short videos introducing the latest technologies.
  • Student Servers to allow real life experience on mini projects on the cloud; and
  • Opportunities to upskill and participate in an international competition where participants may come from different countries.