skill development

Skill development with a slice of Pi

Skill development is important at RS

An example of an undertaking or something that we are continuously working on here at RS is developing people within our organisation. But having come across an opportunity to support skill development outside of our organisation is an exciting vision from a personal point of view and it’s something that also forms a part of my job.

Living in a third world country means skill development is hugely important.  The development of people and encouragement to develop scarce skills is not only crucial for the development of individuals but also for our country. We want to do our part… and we think we have come across something that can really make a difference and that is skill development in the IT sector.

If you have not yet heard about Raspberry Pi, go check it out here. This is the credit card sized computer board that was initially developed to help children gain an interest in programming from a young age. A year-on-year decrease in the number of University students entering the programming field in the UK was apparent so Raspberry Pi was created in order to try and change this decrease and prickle an interest in this field early on. This product was never even meant to be mass manufactured but that very quickly changed as it has become so popular due to its small size, endless abilities and low cost. It did also not just stay at the point of being a cool product for hobbyists or an awesome learning tool for kids but is used by all ages and in a broad range of business applications as well as in the educational sector.

Some University departments have realised a problem as it has become clear that not all students are able to do their homework or practice something at home where a computer is required as they do not have access to a computer at home. This may seem unimaginable to many of us. But it is still a big problem in a country like South Africa. The Raspberry Pi therefore assists with skill development.

Some of the professors have come up with the idea of providing their first year students with a Raspberry Pi to help with this problem as the Raspberry Pi can even be connected to a TV for a screen, you can connect a mouse and keyboard as well as power outlet and you have a solution that works like a normal desk top PC.

Skill development for computer programming

What a wonderful opportunity to provide disadvantaged schools or children from disadvantaged backgrounds with access to a computer and skill development. This can be done at a much lower cost compared to trying to gain access to a desktop PC which will cost thousands and is therefore inaccessible to these groups. From a business point of view we can only do so much to support this initiative but the point is that we can do something. Hopefully other businesses will follow suit and we can all make a difference.

Our first port of call will be with the SOS Children’s Village in Gauteng and a training centre used by the village. This working well and being successful, will give children of all ages and from various backgrounds the opportunity to start learning about programming from an early age and learning how to think logically. What a great example of real skill development!

This also provides the opportunity of developing a skill for school leavers who might not be able to gain a tertiary education. Providing youngsters in South Africa with such a skill can become an invaluable asset not only for the individuals when they get to school leaving age but also for our country.