The Aspire Academy was founded to help solve a problem regularly faced by Aspire Solutions: finding developers with the right abilities and mindset to be productive within our team of high-calibre developers.

At the academy, we teach learners to be full-stack developers from the ground up, in a real-world working environment. Academy members learn from, and work alongside, seasoned Aspire developers and quickly grow to a point where they are the ones sharing the lessons they have learned.

This strategy is paying off for both Aspire and the students, and as Aspire CEO and operations director Mike Steyn says, ‘The academy has embedded itself into our team. We have new students coming onboard now and some are progressing really fast, rubbing shoulders with the more senior Aspire developers. The academy is being kept small to offer real experiential learning and is very effective’.

Discussions are underway to have On The Ball College (OTBC) handle the formal coursework, while the practical side remains with Aspire, where the learners work on their own development projects and gain credits towards their NQF accreditation.  OTBC has been offering services in the training and development sector for the past 10 years through ICT learnerships and skills programmes, and, as such, is a good counterpart for Aspire.

Over the years, Aspire has been involved in learnership programmes with OTBC and has recently been a sponsor to two students who were identified as being good candidates for ICT learning.  Once these students matriculated, they were given the option to join Aspire as interns and to participate in the academy.  Of these two, Lukhanyo Sonyamba took the Aspire internship, while the second student went on to study chemical engineering, as no high school learner sponsored by Aspire is obliged to join the academy.

Lukhanyo Sonyamba and Raeesa Williams, a 3rd year Cape Technikon student doing the practical work for her course, are the newest additions to the academy and are making rapid progress.

Mike Steyn commented, “We are invested in the fresh minds we bring through our programme and are proud to be playing a part in the positive change in their lives… and so also the development of the ICT industry in South Africa.”