The Solidarity-owned Sol-Tech will start offering its first Information Technology (IT) qualifications from April 2023.
The private Afrikaans technical college was launched in 2007 and has gradually expanded its courses in several technical vocations over the past few years.
Aside from the incoming IT certifications, the accredited private tertiary institution offers full-time qualifications for welders, fitters and turners, toolmakers, electricians, and millwrights.
Sol-Tech said that rapid advancements in the technology industry had made education in technology infrastructure, software development, cybersecurity, and data very popular.
But the college’s managing director, Paul van Deventer, said research showed there was a massive shortage of high-quality IT training institutions and educators in South Africa.
“As a career training institution, we are stepping into a new era with this expansion,” Van Deventer stated.
Sol-Tech will initially focus its IT programmes on three specialist fields in the tech industry — IT and network support, data and cloud, and cybersecurity.
The courses are being offered in partnership with the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), which issues professional IT qualifications that are internationally recognised.
The individual certifications that will be available are as follows:
CompTIA A+ (Core 1)
CompTIA A+ (Core 2)
CompTIA Network +
CompTIA Data +
CompTIA Cloud Essentials+
Paul van Deventer, Sol-Tech managing director, during the construction of the college’s campus in Monument Park. Credit: Lize-mari Labuschagne
Prospective students can enrol in the courses now, with the first classes starting in April 2023. Sol-Tech offers more details about each specialist field and applying for the courses on its website.
Students can use virtual labs for distance learning and will also attend in-person sessions in “well-equipped” classrooms during block weeks at Sol-Tech’s Monument Park campus.
The state-of-the-art facility opened its doors in early 2021. It earned Solidarity and its property investment arm, Kanton Investments, high praise for being built under budget and ahead of schedule, despite the construction process being hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Solidarity assured that the IT programme would be taught with the same core principles that Sol-Tech has used for its other programmes over the past 15 years.
The launch of the IT certifications comes in the same year in which Solidarity’s private Afrikaans university — Akademia — enrols its first students in a full-time three-year computer science degree course at its Centurion campus.
The programme has a starting cost of R55,440 in the first year. For comparison, the University of Pretoria charges upwards of R66,000 for the first year of its BSc Computer Science degree.
Akademia is also planning to build a large new campus in Pretoria, which will include student residences, by 2025.