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AWS re/Start launches in Kenya as programme expands across Africa

AWS re/Start launches in Kenya as programme expands across Africa

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) re/Start cloud skills training programme will be launching four cohorts in Africa this month—including launching for the first time in Kenya—as part of the programme’s rapid expansion plans this year.

AWS re/Start is collaborating with getINNOtized, a tech company with roots in Germany that’s driven by creating social impact in Africa and with Ajira Digital, a Kenyan government initiative driven by the Ministry of ICT, Innovations and Youth Affairs to empower over one million young people to access digital job opportunities in Kenya.

In addition to the inaugural Kenya cohort, AWS re/Start will be launching three additional cohorts in South Africa in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Mahikeng. These new launches are part of AWS re/Start’s new entry into Africa. The programme launched its first Africa cohort in October 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa and has since added additional cohorts in South Africa  and expanded the scheme to Ghana and Nigeria.

Building opportunities in the cloud for learners

AWS re/Start is building a diverse pipeline of entry-level trained talent by collaborating with organisations including with business intelligence, analytics and data management services company Praesignis in South Africa, getINNOtized in Ghana and Edojobs in Nigeria.

AWS re/Start is a free, full-time, 12-week programme designed to support people who are unemployed or underemployed and who have little technology experience, for careers in cloud computing. The initiative provides participants with new cloud computing skills, career and resume coaching, and interviews with local employers. The programme connects over 90% of graduates with job interview opportunities. At the end of 2020, AWS re/Start operated in 25 cities across 12 countries. This year, we expect to double the number of cities in which we operate. The AWS re/Start programme is part of Amazon’s commitment to help 29 million people around the world grow their tech skills with free cloud computing skills training by 2025.

With the support of professional mentors and accredited instructors, participants get a foundation of cloud computing knowledge that will propel them into entry-level cloud jobs. The training includes developing skills in programming, networking, security and relational databases through real-world-scenario-based learning, hands-on labs and coursework. The comprehensive programme also provides job interviewing and resume coaching to prepare individuals to take the next steps in their career. By the end of the course, graduates have hard skills, soft skills and earn their AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification, an industry-recognised credential validating cloud computing skills.

Ayanda Dhlamini viewed her interest in IT as a hobby, never believing she could pursue it seriously. This all changed when she was chosen to participate in AWS re/Start. “I discovered that I liked working in IT, especially in the cloud environment. By the end of the first week of the programme, I knew this is the career path for me,” Dhlamini said.

Her mentor from Praesignis saw her potential and encouraged her every step of the way. “Without his belief in me, I probably would not have done as well as I did during the programme,” she noted. “It was a difficult journey and I felt on numerous occasions that my dream was perhaps too big and unachievable. But Praesignis believed in me and I am now a Junior AWS Facilitator within the company.”

Dhlamini has further developed her career and has now attained an AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification, a rigorous credential that demonstrates individuals’ hands-on experience designing available, cost-efficient, fault-tolerant and scalable distributed systems on AWS.

Dhlamini believes her success will also go a long way to encouraging other young black women to follow a career in IT and cloud.

“My initial understanding around the fundamentals of IT has changed and here I am teaching foundational cloud computing skills in a programme that empowered me to believe in myself. I want to encourage other women to embark on an IT career and empower themselves,” she said.

Grace Nkosi, another re/Start graduate had a desire to transform the IT industry. Nkosi has long had a passion for IT and decided to take her interest further by applying for the AWS re/Start programme. “I always saw myself as being part of an industry that is transforming the world. I believe cloud is transforming not only the IT sector, but the day-to-day world we live in. This programme enabled my vision to come true: to be part of an industry that can make a positive difference in the world. It was amazing being in this programme,” she said. “While not always easy, through sheer persistence and hard work, I managed to achieve my ambition of working within the IT sector, more specifically the cloud.”

Nkosi is now working full time at Praesignis as a Training Administrator for the IT Tech support class of the 2021 AWS re/Start programme.

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