By Nomali Cele
Digify Africa, founded in 2012, is an organisation invested in digital skills training. They’ve recently graduated a new batch of digital marketers through their Digify Pro programme, which is an intensive 10-week digital marketing skills programme.
Training young people to access opportunities in the digital economy
The return to the classroom with Digify Johannesburg 9.0 came after a collaboration with Facebook Africa.
How Digify Pro works
Speaking to Digify Africa Chief Operations Officer, Qhakaza Mthembu, she told the Digify Pro story starting from the last time the programme was active in Johannesburg. “It’s quite an intensive programme and it needs a funder to run. For about two years we didn’t have a funder,” said Mthembu.
Facebook Africa, newly refocusing on digital skills within the continent, approached Digify Africa about running the training programme with Facebook Africa as the funder.
Digify Pro isn’t a programme that’s working on a prayer. The entire curriculum, which is designed in-house at Digify Africa, is a response to what the local digital industry wants. According to Mthembu, Digify Africa does a survey to see what digital skills gaps there within the local industry. “We then make sure we are training the skills that agencies can then absorb,” she said.
How does the day-to-day programme of Digify Pro look?
Weekly, participants meet new speakers every Monday who introduces a new facet of digital marketing. At the end of the session, the speaker then hands out a live brief to the participants, who are internally organised into groups that function as agencies.
Mthembu told Kaya that Digify asks agencies to give the participants briefs that the agencies’ teams may be presently struggling with. At the end of the week, the Digify Pro students then go back to the agency that briefed them that week to present and get feedback.
The participants who were selected for Digify Pro 9.0 all see the doors the opportunity could open for them. One such participant is Thembinkosi Pasiya, a Soweto native who elected to leave his job in tourism to join this training opportunity.
“The main reason I quit my job was so I can pursue my dreams,” Pasiya told Kaya. “Where I am right now the start of where I wanna go,” he said.
For Dineo Monareng, who applied from Mpumalanga and crossed provinces to attend her interview, the opportunities Digify Pro offers are immense. When she was shortlisted as one of the 18, there was no other way but to take the leap of faith. “I spoke to my parents about it and they said “we’re willing to support you,” she told us.
Life After Digify Pro
The first Digify Pro graduation in two years was attended by alumni and agency partners alike. Keynote speaker, Joey Khuvutlu, Managing Director of Hello Computer Johannesburg – a digital-led agency with offices in both Johannesburg and Cape Town, had words of encouragement for the graduates.
Khuvutlu, who started his first advertising agency in 2004, fresh out of college, had three points to share with the Digify Pro graduating class: Take risks, don’t stagnate, care.
Monareng highlighted one of the winning outcomes of the intensive 10-week programme. The graduates didn’t just get their shiny new digital marketing skills, they got interpersonal skills. “Teamwork is not always easy, you learn a lot about yourself and emotional intelligence,” Monareng told Kaya.
Outside of the briefing process, the participants are exposed to several industry professionals to network and get more entrenched within the marketing, advertising and digital industries throughout the week.
Both Pasiya and Monareng, and many of the Digify Pro 9.0 graduates are keen to go back into their communities and share their new skills. With Digify Africa training a number of the alumni to be trainers themselves – they go on to work for the organisation as trainers.
Other than Digify Pro and the world of digital marketing, Digify Africa has two other programmes, namely Ilizwe Lami and Boost Your Business also with Facebook. Ilizwe Lami focuses on digital safety and Digify Africa trains school children about how to stay safe online, how to recognise fake profiles and more. Boost Your Business is focused on training small business owners so that they turn Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram into powerful marketing and business tools.
The Digify Pro alumni are connected across the continent through a Facebook Group where they interact and share opportunities. Digify Africa is constantly using its industry connections to get graduates in the right rooms and get them placed in jobs.
As the partnership between Digify Africaand Facebook continues, several Digify Pro programmes bill be running across five Africa including Durban, Johannesburg, Lagos, Abuja and Nairobi.
Images supplied by Digify Africa