University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) students who are part of the City of Johannesburg’s Digital Ambassadors programme, met His Royal Highness, Prince Harry on Thursday, 3 December 2015.
Prince Harry, accompanied by the City of Johannesburg’s Executive Mayor, Parks Tau, visited a Youth Empowerment Exposition at the Bus Factory, the Johannesburg Development Agency’s (JDA’s) headquarters in Newtown, Johannesburg.
Prince Harry took a walkabout of the expo and engaged with young entrepreneurs involved in programmes to develop their business skills using digital as well as more traditional platforms.
The UJ Jozi Digital Ambassadors programme is one of a number of projects the JDA has spearheaded as part of the City’s ongoing drive to regenerate the inner city suburbs. As part of the roll out of 1000 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the city, the City of Johannesburg required 3000 Digital Ambassadors to train approximately 700,000 city residents in digital literacy. The training is taking place over a period of 18 months to enable residents to utilise and benefit from the broadband connections in their areas. The Digital Ambassadors are trained at UJ lecture facilities, via a cloud-based learner management system incorporating open source learning. The programme is hosted by UJ’s School of Electrical Engineering within the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment.
“Wi-Fi is on the verge of becoming an essential part of everyday life as people simply expect to be able to connect, wherever they are,” said Prince Harry when he engaged with the UJ Jozi Digital Ambassadors.
As part of the roll out, the training has focused on enabling the broader community to use digital technology to find and apply for job opportunities, online education, banking applications and to use various public wireless facilities around the city to make Johannesburg a connected hub.
“It has been exciting to engage and see young entrepreneurs implementing their ideas because we’re a City where the young lead the call for transformation, demanding the opportunity to work, improve their lives and become the best of what they can be,” said the Johannesburg City Mayor, Parks Tau.
Says Magriet Mouton, UJ’s Resolution Circle Coordinator: “I’m inspired to see many green innovative ideas coming into existence to make Johannesburg a better place. As we have seen the passion when people speak about green initiatives, we want them to say that Johannesburg is the leader in Africa”. Resolution Circle is an executing agent for this project and plays an active role for collaborative initiatives within UJ.
The Digital Ambassadors Programme aims to develop and improve a new workplace skills delivery model. This model will be utilized in other projects rolling out in the rest of South Africa and Africa to effectively equip unemployed youth to actively participate in the economy by empowering themselves and creating a platform for innovation, economic growth and community development.