Forge Academy, powered by Nokia, has launched a fully inclusive artificial intelligence laboratory in South Africa in the presence of the Minister of Communications & Digital Technologies, Ms. Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and Nokia’s Head of Strategic relationships and transformation, Pat Wiehahn, along with other dignitaries.
Situated in Fourways at The Gantry, Forge Academy has designed a world-class programme for South African youths that is modelled on Finnish education principles and equipped with cutting-edge Nokia smart technology. Forge Academy will prepare students from all walks of life with theoretical, laboratory and on-the-job training for their participation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the global digital economy.
“This is more than a dream come true for us, but a lifelong calling to forge people of purpose. We are humbled and immensely proud to launch this academic institution and incubation hub at a time when many youths need to know there is an open door for them to participate in creating a future in a world of work that is rapidly evolving,” said Arthur Wade Anderson, CEO and founder of the Forge Academy.
An incubation hub for not only students, Forge Academy is working in close association with the Finnish Embassy, Nokia and other corporates to provide an enabling space for startup businesses that rely on the 4IR technologies. Here they can access special funding, laboratory time, Wi-Fi, think tanks, smart technologies, assistance in product certification and the latest expertise in order to play in this space.
“South Africa, just like the rest of the world, finds itself in the middle of a new revolution. The 4IR is creating opportunities for us to harness converging technologies to design an all-inclusive future. The actual opportunities for us are in looking beyond the technological advancements to come up with innovative ways to give citizens the ability to positively impact their families, communities and organisations. Institutions like Forge Academy are helping in bridging the digital divide between the digitally empowered on the one side and the digitally deprived on the other,” said Minister of Communications & Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
Nokia is sponsoring 30 students for a year-long learnership in a Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) certified diploma. The programme has been designed by Forge Academy in conjunction with Nokia’s global team of 4IR experts and leading Finnish education specialists, with the country’s education watchdog providing oversight.
“Nokia is extremely excited about this journey to support the whole value chain from training to testing to incubation and launch and we look forward to the opportunities that Forge Academy will create for all South Africans in an inclusive digital economy age,” says Pat Wiehahn, Head of Strategic Relations and Transformation at Nokia South Africa.
“Our objective is to develop skill sets within the next generation of engineers, technologists, entrepreneurs and job titles still to be created in the years to come, to ensure that South Africans are well prepared to take up their rightful place in their local economy.”
Once the first intake of students complete the accredited one-year diploma, the hope is that some will start their own businesses, others will further their studies at university (sponsored by Nokia or other companies) and others could join a company where their skills will be needed.
“We believe there are young people of purpose in our very midst that have the inherent abilities and talents to influence, impact and increase into the world. We want to invest in them through providing an education of the highest quality and transferring skills that’ll make them exceptional in the world,” says Forge Academy co-founder and COO Craig Clutty.
The Academy is also open for paying students who can choose from an array of short courses such as the Basics of Computing and Basics of Coding, which is targeted at children.
“Technology has been a great enabler in this new economic age. Forge Academy will serve as a conduit for our youth who urgently need to harness new technologies to access a higher quality of education and the job opportunities currently available in this digitally driven economy,” concluded Anderson.