Soon after our 2021 graduates went off to begin their job application and interviewing process, it was a pleasure to receive official recognition from Google as a partner in their Digital Skills for Africa program.  The Innovation Hub has made extensive use of Google’s Digital Skill training content since 2019, especially in the fact that Google offers all their Digital Skills training content for free. Today’s digital marketers need to have Google skills competence to get a job in the industry and the iHub has integrated their various functional offerings into our overall Digital Skills training stream.   We look forward to continuing to partner with Google as they expand their offering beyond the over 6 million beneficiaries of the program in Sub-Saharan Africa.

A new Learning Management System (LMS)

After taking a brief break over the Christmas – New Year’s period, the Innovation Hub team continued their preparations to deliver the next edition of the iHub training program.  We’ve been making revisions to the way we deliver the Leadership & Identity, Digital Marketing, and Soft Skills for Business training content as we’ve applied our learning’s progressively since launching the program in 2019; working in “proof-of-concept” mode through 2021.  One significant improvement in 2022 over the way we’ve been delivering the program’s training content, assessing and tracking the outcomes of our students, is to implement a Learning Management System or LMS. We started our search for the right LMS platform for our program back in June, held detailed assessments and trials with a shortlisted set of contenders in September and finally settled on Pluto as our best choice to move forward with in October.  Once we moved past graduation in November, we were able to shift the focus of key members of our team to the LMS implementation, which kicked off December 6th.

The new Pluto LMS will bring our team and our students multiple benefits in 2022 and the years ahead; most importantly for our course facilitators and administrators to replace many manual tasks across multiple platforms into a single, automated and integrated, real-time content delivery and learning outcomes management tool.  Out students will benefit from a next-level and richer, consistent learning experience and be able to track their individual as well as overall cohort progress in real time.  Our coaches will be able to track their student’ progress and keep in touch with their coaching community, collaborating and sharing insights.  And it will become a fundamental technology tool to enable the program to scale up to multiple hubs across Africa.

Pluto is a South African company serving global clients and is a cloud-based application.  You can learn more about Pluto LMS here.

Student Intake 2022

We have built an aggressive project plan to steer the LMS implementation, making use of Agile methodologies with the aim to have everything ready for the launch of our program, which begins with two weeks of “Boot Camp”, where we will make use of various assessments to select the 50 most suitable candidates out of 100 to move forward with the first phase of training, commencing March 7th.

It’s been crazy to see the demand build over the last 3 years for this program – highlighted in the applicant stats summarized below:

As you can see, since October 1st we’ve had nearly 800 young people apply to the iHub across both the Gautang and Western Cape provinces.  Of these 346 passed the first and second phases of the online qualification process.  We’ve been following up with this group to have a referee return an online reference, and for those who do (198 thus far), we’ve held a telephone interview to confirm their candidacy to attend a week of Boot Camp where we’ll further assess their competencies and overall readiness and commitment to take on the rigors of our program.  As you can see from the above table, we intend to offer 50 students a seat for the 2022 program that launches March 7th (25 at the Gautang hub in Johannesburg and 25 at the Western Cape hub in Cape Town).

As LMS Project Manager, I’m looking forward to delivering this new capability for our team and students.  2022’s iHub Program, will embody our collective learnings since our inception and hopefully set the best standard yet of job readiness for our graduates as we continue to innovate and move forward with our vision.

Look for my next updates once Boot Camp gets underway February 7th!