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The BigFive Summit Speaker Series Episode 3: Fiona Tabraham, CEO, CapaCiti (UVU Africa)

The BigFive Summit Speaker Series Episode 3: Fiona Tabraham, CEO, CapaCiti (UVU Africa)

The BigFive Summit Speaker Series continues on the BIG5D Podcast with a conversation on upskilling African youth with CapaCiTi CEO Fiona Tabraham

This podcast series is sponsored by The 2024 BigFive Summit

Welcome to Episode 3 of the BigFive Summit Speaker Series. This is a series of podcasts featuring conversations about Africa’s tech scene, empowering SMEs with technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, startup life, and much more featuring the incredible thought leaders who will speak at the 2024 BigFive Summit, 19-20 March in Cape Town.

In Episode 3, we interview Fiona Tabraham, CEO of CapaCiTi, a tech career accelerator that is a unit of the non-profit UVU Africa. Fiona’s mission at CapaCiTi is to help promising young Africans, predominantly from underserved communities, acquire the technical and job skills required to walk in through the front door of African corporates and compete for jobs as developers, cybersecurity specialists, and other technical roles.

One thing Fiona emphasizes in the interview is the importance of general employment skills in addition to the technical training that CapaCiTi offers.

“There is a whole value chain between giving someone a set of skills or a certification in something digital, versus making them employable,” Fiona explains in the interview. “And CapaCiti sits very much in that part of looking at the employability of a young person and making sure that we address the holistic skills gap.”

Fiona will take the stage at the upcoming BigFive Summit, 19-20 March in Cape Town to talk about “Unlocking Africa’s Digital Skills Opportunity” on the afternoon of 19th March.

Interview Excerpts

The following are a few edited excerpts from our conversation with Fiona. Please listen to the podcast to experience the full interview.

On CapaCiTi’s core purpose.

“We have got the most amazing assets in our young people in Africa, you know, we have got vibrance, forward-thinking, innovative resilience, what, you know, teamworking, bright young people, that we need to consider how we create opportunities for…”

On the over-reliance on formal education as a proxy for employment qualification.

If you look at successful software developers, and you go back and ask them, ‘Where did you learn your trade?’, you will find that a large proportion of them are self-taught. There's a certain mindset, there's a certain way of thinking about things, there's a certain ability to see patterns, there's a certain type of individual that's going to sit there all night trying to code something.

If we use education as a proxy for talent. If we say ‘I will only hire people that have a graduate degree in X’, while only hiring someone that has a certain percentage in maths, you know, we automatically exclude a large portion of the population. And you know that that can't be right in the modern age.

On the reasons for CapaCiTi’s low acceptance rate (approx 5%).

As a non-profit, for whatever we do, we need to raise funding. We've got to raise the demand, and we've got to raise the partnerships. We don't believe in training young people only to let them go home and sit at home because they haven't got an opportunity to go to. So there's a limitation in finding quality, sustainable livelihoods for young people.

Because we are a predominantly campus-based program, there's a limitation with space. But in the majority, it's because we have a pretty good reputation amongst young people, and we get a lot of people telling their friends and their families. And so a lot of the time we are overwhelmed with applications because people want to be part of the programs.

You can also enjoy this podcast on Apple and Spotify.

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Sponsored Message

This podcast series is sponsored by The 2024 BigFive Summit

African Tech Leaders to Share BigFive Summit Stage

Join our growing lineup of powerhouse speakers at the 2024 BigFive Summit, Africa’s leading small business technology event (19-20 March 2024 in Cape Town). Our growing list of outstanding speakers includes Lunga Siyo, Aisha Pandor, Khomotso Molabe, Ashmita Singh, Denvor Daniels, Fiona Tabraham, Miranda Perumal, Simon Ellis, Zachariah George, Zach Marks, Kimberley Taylor, Lindelani Ramukumbu, Meghan McCormick, Tanja De Korte, John Kitenge, and many others.

Organizations participating in the Summit (as speakers, sponsors, or delegates) will include Absa Group, Telkom Consumer, Standard Bank Group, MTN South Africa, Africa 118, Yellow Pages Kenya, SweepSouth, scale, Jem, Loop, Launch Africa Ventures, Local Knowledge, Savant Venture Fund, LayUp Technologies, Oze, Vendasta,, Duda, Helm, SIINDA, UVU Africa, AdBot, Rainmaker Media, Qwili, Here Technologies, Visiosoft, and many more. This list grows every day.

Purchase your Early Bird tickets today for only R2000. This grants the ticketholder two days of top-level content and networking in Africa’s top destination city with an amazing group of tech builders, investors, and corporate leaders. Apply the promotional code PODCAST at checkout to save an additional 25%.

Purchase Summit tickets in ZAR here:

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The Africa SMME Tech Report
The BIG5D Podcast
In-depth conversations with the innovators and entrepreneurs building the tech ecosystems for small and local businesses in Africa & The Middle East.