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Karoo Tech Hub’s Nerd Academy to train community for the gig economy

The Karoo Tech Hub has launched the Nerd Academy programme, a free initiative which aims to offer unemployed people in the Karoo online studying opportunities and training on how to pitch to foreign businesses and become part of the gig economy.

The hub, based in Somerset East, Eastern Cape, is run by video production company Piehole.tv in collaboration with ProcurementExpress.com.

More than 20 people have been trained at the Karoo Tech Hub

Piehole.tv founder Priscilla Kennedy says the academy will help solve unemployment in the Karoo.

“Education at university level is not always possible for families in the Karoo. It places untenable pressure on the family, and if in rare cases they do complete a course, finding a job is near impossible. The Nerd Academy is one way in which we can assist to upskill unemployed people of any age, and then assist them to market themselves successfully,” says Kennedy.

The academy, which caters for both technical and creative skill sets, aims to assist participants who display creative potential to build careers around their talent.

“We are currently working with three young people who are good at drawing, so we are coaching them to become storyboard sketch artists, while also putting them onto Photoshop and other design courses, with the ultimate goal being animation,” she says.

Nerd Academy participants are also encouraged to pursue careers where they can work with international companies while in the Karoo — and effectively become part of the Gig Economy. Much like the hub’s sponsors Piehole.Tv and ProcurementExpress.com which both service international clients from Somerset East.

“We believe in earning dollars, spending rands,” says Kennedy.

She believes independent workers are on the increase, and that this is part of a rising global trend.

“By turning our Karoo Tech Hub into a tech campus we can assist in developing the right skills and then empowering these individuals to canvas for work across Europe, the United States and Asia,” explains Kennedy.

She says a number of roles in her company have been filled with people who had no previous experience, but were fully trained by the Karoo Tech Hub. In all, she says the hub has trained more than 20 individuals.

Read more: Q&A: Karoo Tech Hub hosting developer handling $1 billion a month in spend

“The model works and we are working towards making it more sustainable. We have experience and are passionate about transferring our skills and creating a pipeline of talented youth with sought-after skills in project management, online marketing, pitching, brand management as well as basic English and computing skills,” she adds.