Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy expands

Samsung Africa honoured its very first class of graduates of the Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy in South Africa, marking the end of the pilot programme and the start of its expansion into other African countries.

Launched in March last year, the Academy is a core part of Samsung’s vision to fast-track the entry of African youths into the electronics job market, with a short-term goal to develop 10 000 Electronics Engineers across the continent by 2015.

Bhekisipho Twala, Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Statistical Science at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronic Engineering Science at the University of Johannesburg, addressed the students and guests, commending Samsung’s efforts to drive excellence in the field of Engineering. “South Africa needs more well-qualified matriculants, particularly in the fields of maths, science and engineering, which are subjects essential to so many jobs that are critical to the country’s competitiveness on a global scale. By addressing this demand, Samsung is investing in future innovation on the continent.”   

Each graduate received a certificate of completion and certificates of achievement were presented to all graduates who achieved over 80%. The Academy’s top three achievers in each Grade were awarded Galaxy Tabs, while Refiloe Machaba in Grade 10 walked away with a Samsung Galaxy Tab and 32” LED TV as the Overall Top Achiever for 2011.

Samsung Electronics’ Engineering Academy provides hands-on, vocational skills training at no cost for 120 Grade 10-12 students from four technical high schools in the Ekurhuleni municipality.

In addition to ensuring that the continent develops an adequate pool of engineering skills, the academy will provide learners with skilled, well-paying job opportunities– a commitment that supports the South African government’s drive to address the problem of youth unemployment.  The graduates will now be placed in positions at Samsung’s service centre, knock-down plant and call centre partners in Gauteng province.

“As we expand into Africa we are striving to not only act ethically, but to positively impact the communities where our consumers live,” says CEO and President of Samsung Electronics Africa, KK Park.  “We believe we will have the greatest impact by connecting our CSR initiatives to our history and core business. Skilled graduates are key to helping us reach our business goals, providing us with a workforce of technicians and exclusive service experts needed to differentiate Samsung as a quality service-oriented company. With the goal to grow our business on the continent, we also know that we have to sustain our level of innovation. This can only be achieved if we invest in education to facilitate thought-leadership in Africa.”

Students go through a year’s program comprising basic, intermediate and advanced engineering skills, aligned to their set curriculum at school. Samsung works closely with the Electrical Technology Facilitator in the district so that the Academy does not only supplement the school curriculum, but also introduces students to industry appropriate skills, tools and equipment.

The second Academy is being launched in Kenya on 1 February, and the third in Nigeria in the first quarter of 2012. It will be scaled to several other African countries in the next few years.

The academies are a part of the company’s global ‘Hope for Children’ initiative, which places a strategic focus on bringing attention to the worldwide need for childhood education and healthcare in an effort to improve communities worldwide.

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