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Youth VacWork Set To Digitize The Evolution: History, Arts And Space

In 2014, Geekulcha created a programme that is free and open to 6 to 20 year olds bringing them to a real or simulated working environment to learn how to code and build tech startups. The Geekulcha Vacation Work (gkVacWork) has since extended to five provinces in South Africa. Over 1 000 scholars have take part and normally spans for about a week for the youngsters to build innovative solutions.

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Gauteng edition of the programme is powered by The Innovation Hub and the City of Tshwane an ICT complimentary programme to the Youth Fab Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneur Programme by the two organizations. This is supported by the mLab South Africa and Ikusasa Technology Solutions.

Upcoming edition of the VacWork will take place in Soweto and Tshwane:

  • Date: 18 - 23 March 2019
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00 everyday (for a working experience)
  • Venues: Ekasi Labs Soweto and Code Tribe SA Academy Tshwane
  • Info Page: future.geekulcha.com/gauteng

The VacWork programme is based on the Geekulcha Skills Redistribution model with university students being able to volunteer as mentors/trainers for the younger ones during the holidays.

A portfolio for the Job Market

Young professionals like Reabetswe ‘Rio’ Bodiba came through the VacWork and did not go university route, worked his way up to become a Product Manager at Old Mutual. About 8 startups were created through the experience gained from the programme.

Tiyani Nghonyama, programme creator and COO of Geekulcha says, “although the youngsters receive Certificates of Participation, for the first time, they will be able to create their online portfolios as evidence of work done during the programme”. A Career Day is also hosted as part of the programme.

The Theme - Building Optical Tech Excitation

Emergence of optical technologies has always been exciting and can only help us imagine the possibilities of how our world will be tomorrow. Looking at hololens (holographic tech), digital lazers, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and even Mixed Reality, what can be build to have life as we know it?

With every VacWork edition, a theme is set to help youngsters innovative to a sector and in line with the 4th Industrial Revolution and build better societies in the Smart Growing World. This March, the youngsters are challenged to Digitize the Evolution with any of these aspects:

1. History: South African has a lot of history, in this modern world - we need to digitize and make it more interactive and alive with modern technologies. A history session will be done by the Filmmaker and Director of the Kalushi Movie and Maphungubwe documentary.

2. Art: Things will come alive, the youngsters are challenged to imagine and build/make smart artifacts, markets and galleries of tomorrow.

3. Space: It is a popular belief that space has the answers, we need to build and ignite a Space Heritage in South Africa. Youngsters will embark on a journey for space mining and farming.

Fresh Minds must be channeled to build ‘Secure By Design’ - an Information Security session will be given to the scholars. On the final day, they must also show consideration and implementation of security for their tech products or services.

Tech Debate: In efforts to encourage reading and engagement in the South African Digital Transformation - a Tech Debate is hosted on the final day of the programme. This also seeks to give or present a voice of the Future past the 4th Industrial Revolution. Consisting of 8 teams (4 Soweto and 4 Tshwane), Johannesburg vs Pretoria will battle for a Knowledge Trophy.

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Last day of VacWork, the two cities will come together to battle it out in Innovation and Knowledge. Top 3 teams/projects will be give prizes. There are also spot spot prizes that includes ‘Best Female Star’ and ‘Ultimate’ of the VacWork. From The Innovation Hub side, Ms Olebogeng Thebyane (Fab Lab) always seek to see/build a pipeline for youth startups for incubation.

Programme in Photos: flickr.com/geekulcha/albums

Tiyani Nghonyama

Tiyani Nghonyama

COO of Geekulcha in SA. A software and hardware developer, Tiyani drives social development initiatives such as RHOK Pretoria, Arduino Day South Africa, and the Geekulcha VacWork, among others.

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