Kaitlin and Thabiso top the class in iLembe ICT Project Launchpad

Two young locals studying coding – creating instructions for computers – won the iLembe ICT Project Launchpad competition in front of 52 entrants.

Thabiso Ndlovu from KwaDukuza and Kaitlin Pillay from Mandeni each won a R10,000 prize.

They participated in the competition as part of the iLembe ICT project of the local economic development program Vuthela iLembe.

Of the 52 young people enrolled in the project, 27 qualified and set about designing a technical solution to a problem faced by a local business.

Ten were chosen as finalists, who then had to pitch their websites to a jury and explain how they went about developing them.

The judges were made up of some of the project steering committee members – Wiseman Cele from the KwaDukuza Youth Office, Fanele Mazibuko from Enterprise iLembe and Shannon Moffett from the Vuthela program.

Judging was made on the extent to which the website met the needs of the company or NGO, the technical competence of the website, the creativity and the way the young people communicated with the jury.

Kaitlin and Thabiso received their awards from Gisela Roth from the Swiss offices of Vuthela’s donors, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and Judith Shoniwa from SECO’s South African office in Pretoria.

Both winners were surprised at their achievements, with neither having done any coding before beginning their studies through the project’s service provider, IT Varsity.

Totally online, the young people use the Enterprise iLembe incubator and the digital center of the Moses Kotane Institute in Mandeni to complete their 12-month training.

Kaitlin now hopes to go to college next year to study computer science, while Thabiso has also been bitten by the tech bug and plans to enroll in college to study systems development, a new passion he discovered during his studies.

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