After three successive 1-week Boot Camp sessions in February, the team extended program enrollment invitations to 45 students who will become our 2023 training cohort. It’s always an exciting time to welcome these new, bright, passionate students who are full of hope for an opportunity to set their career onto a course that, should they meet all program standards, graduate in 9 months with the potential to be selected for a digital marketing internship that will change the trajectory of their lives and their families.
There is a sobering statistic of how we got here that we are reminded of every time we walk through our intake process that culminates in enrollment invitations. As can be seen in the lead photo above, we had some 1,454 applicants which were sifted down after a 4-step filtering process to yield 182 invitations to take part in our Boot Camp (a 5-day intensive, in-person assessment of their capabilities). A mindboggling stat is that of those 182 invited, only 69 showed up! In a country where 65% of young adults aged 18-30 are unemployed! When we followed up to learn why so many who expressed strong interest and met our preliminary criteria yet did not end up at Boot Camp, the overwhelming majority cited “for financial reasons”. As our program is offered 100% free (including daily transport allowance and a healthy lunch), the back story is more often than not, that these students with high potential to get through our program end up being stopped by their families in order for them to go earn income – usually through a menial, low-paying job. Their family’s financial situation is so dire that it causes parents to become very short-sighted, forcing their sons and daughters to forego an opportunity to change the economic course of their family – unwilling to allow them just 9 months to attend our iHub full-time so that they can be trained and readied for a global digital economy career (vs. a laborer at a local store).
All that said, we are thankful for the 45 students out of the 69 we were able to confirm as well-qualified to enter and thrive in the 2023 program. We had room for up to 60, if we could have seen that many meet all our standards through the Boot Camps.
Last week began Onboarding and Orientation. Above is a photo of the students as Liz Skosana, Program Director begins walking them through the curriculum, getting them familiar with our learning management system (LMS) and understand the assignment standards to be attained in order to continue through each of the next 5 learning phases.
Look for my next post in a couple weeks when we will highlight a few of these 45 students’ stories. Exciting days ahead!