It was wonderful to be back on site and in person at the Philippi Village Hub to take in the Graduation Ceremonies of the 2021 cohort of the Innovation Hub Africa. This year we graduated 22 students – 12 from our Western Cape Hub located in Philippi Village, Cape Town (WC) and 10 from our Gautang Province Hub located in the Media Mill, Johannesburg. Our original Intake for 2021 was 29 students back in February meaning we experienced a 24% attrition rate – quite remarkable given all the challenges that the students walked through in their personal journeys as well as the high standard set for the course content.
The ceremonies opened with a warm welcome by Steffan van der Male to all family members and continued sharing his reflections on the iHub’s 3-year journey.
Maurisa Moloto, Program Director was Master of Ceremonies and in addition to providing her personal remarks and congratulations, she introduce several guest speakers, including:
- Liz Skosana (GP Hub), Soft Skills Lead who provided an overview of the training content
- Various presentations from our Comarketers Digital Training Content and Placement Partner staff members, and
- Dylan Kohlstadt, CEO of ShiftOne, another Digital Training Content Partner, who addressed the graduates with an encouraging message on serving your clients’ needs = success.
This year’s ceremonies were expanded to include our second hub in GP, which meant we employed Zoom multi-station technology to provide a virtual presence experience for all students and guests at the Media Mill in Johannesburg, everyone gathered at the Philippi Village hub, representatives from our partners in the Netherlands and Germany, and several Coach-Mentors that joined the event from across South Africa as well as the USA and Canada online virtually.
Zoom multi-session windows on the projection screen – It was a true international event!
And ESCOM (the local electricity utility) didn’t disappoint by forcing us to use UPS power for the first ½ of the ceremonies while Philippi was experiencing a rolling blackout (load shedding is the South African term).
2021 marked the third year of our “proof of concept” program, where we have been refining the training content and approaches of delivering three, integrated streams of training:
- Digital Marketing – Analytical and Social Media Creative
- Soft Skills for Business
- Leadership and Identity
A personal Coach-Mentor was assigned to each student who brought their professional expertise and insights to guide the students through 3 phases of training. Although another national Covid-related lockdown kept the students out of class for 5 weeks in July-August, overall the 22 students finished with very strong final grade reports and several were already invited to interview for 3 open internships with Comarketers (as Digital Marketing Research Specialists). In the weeks ahead, students will be applying for other open internships with ShiftOne as well as our latest Placement Partner, GroupM.
No vocational college graduation is complete without a valedictory address. We had two students, one from each hub, selected by their peers, to be valedictorians. Simthembile (Thembi) Fuzile was selected to represent the WC students (see video below), and Ricado Jordan to represent GP.
iHub Leadership Team [from L>R: Nyasha (fund raising), Steffan (Managing Director), Stephanie (administration), Harley (intern assistant), Brandon (WC Hub Lead), Andy (Executive Advisor), Maurisa (Program Lead), Drew (Soft Skills facilitator) – not shown from GP: LIz Skosana, Thendo Netsianda)
In closing and upon reflection, I’m very grateful for having the privilege to serve and be a part of the iHub Leadership Team since 2019. This program has graduated more than 50 students over the past three cohorts – all of whom have received transformational digital economy skills training and many have moved into new careers that have positively changed the trajectory of their lives and the lives of their families. That is why I am passionate to volunteer my time to the iHub – we’re providing innovative access to opportunities that unlock the potential of today’s young adult generation, connecting them to the local & global digital economy.
GP Grads: Bonginkosi, Khumo, Nvelwenhle, Ricado, Camilla, Immaculate, Loyiso, Noluthando, Thabo, Thapelo [Team members include LIz Skosana (Center) and Thendo Netsianda (far Left)
WC Grads: Boss, Karen, Sabelo, Ntandoyenkosi, Paula, Phila, Sandile, Simthembile, Sinawo, Sisipho, Tandeka
2021’s graduating class is history – congratulations everyone – well deserved!!
And there is no better reminder than the inscription on the upper back of the jacket under the gown and sash of the potential every one of these grads have as they take their new skills into the marketplace and make their mark on South Africa and beyond!…
PS: As of today’s date we have over 500 applicants for iHub 2022 with over 220 passing our second-level filters of Intake requirements. It’s very exciting to see the demand for the program as we grow our capacity for 2022 from 30 to 50 students. Please watch for further updates on this site as we get closer to our Boot Camp program launch in early February!