GirlCode and Amazon Web Services (AWS) partnered together to help 30 unemployed women prepare for careers in tech and IT through a new, free joint learnership training programme called the GirlCode’s Software Development Learnership. A proud advocate of women, GirlCode and AWS have worked together consistently in recent years, helping to realise their joint mission of fostering female talent in the tech space.

GirlCode’s Software Development Learnership programme commenced on 1 April 2021 and it was officially launch in Midrand, on 30 April 2021. The learnership programme will run for a period of 12 months and comes at no cost to participating learners.

The learners will attend daily work simulated sessions at the GirlCode Campus in Midrand, the focus,  being an introduction to cloud-based computing and AWS tools. They will be working on practical projects as well as learn and practice with relevant tech and tools. This will afford the learners hands-on opportunities to experience real-life operations and agility of projects, working in teams in a business environment, while also acquiring soft skills to prepare them for the world of work.

In an attempt to close the loop between training and employment, the last leg of the programme will focus on ‘career skills’ such as preparing for interviews, advice on navigating salary discussions, guidance on developing one’s personal brand, and assistance with CVs, covering letters and learners’ LinkedIn profiles.

GirlCode received almost 50,000 applications for the learnership programme, attesting to the profound need for such programmes to accelerate youth skills development. Nearly 20,000 women took the aptitude test, from which numerous participants acquired test scores of over 85%. “The sad reality of this seemingly great outcome is that there are brilliant young minds sitting at home without work and study prospects. Also important is that, this in fact means that organisations are forfeiting the potential IP that could be creating innovative solutions for the industry and our country as a result,” said GirlCode Chief Executive Officer Zandile Mkhwanazi.

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Zandile Mkhwananzi

“Given the result of the applications, this is a positive step in the right direction to address the tech skills gap in South Africa when it comes to women software developers. We are excited to work with AWS, as GirlCode aims to upskill 10 million women over the next 10 years. GirlCode will continue seeking more opportunities to empower more girls,” said Mkwanazi.

“Recent research shows that 32.2% of South African women were unemployed at the end of 2020, meaning that as a country women are disproportionately facing unemployment. Education and skill development opportunities such as GirlCode’s Software Development Learnership are critical to helping to close inequality gaps in our society,” said Linda Siso, Head of Education at AWS South Africa, explaining why the cloud computing giant is supporting this local initiative.

“At AWS, we focus on building innovative programs that have a lasting, positive impact for communities, and designing STEM and skills training programs are central to this approach. By supporting GirlCode on this program, we are one step closer to achieving our goal of helping 29 million people around the world to grow their tech skills with free cloud computing skills training by 2025,” said Siso.


What makes this programme particularly effective is that GirlCode has partnered with tech start-ups to ensure that learners can gain work experience following their learnership. Participating start-ups will also benefit from having additional resources on their projects, without incurring additional operation costs or the burden of sourcing and recruiting prospect candidates.

“GirlCode would like to challenge more tech companies to consider partnering with them and other NPOs to collaborate on solutions that will close the obvious gaps that exist in the tech space, and to stimulate the idle minds that are eager to learn and work,” said Mkwanazi.

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