Last week the founder and CEO of Zwart Talent Foundation was interviewed by Vanguard newspaper online.
In Nelson’s interview, he introduced the Zwart Talent Foundation to the world and touched on various points, explaining the reason behind the foundation’s creation.
We will be taking a look at important points from Nelson’s interview.
Firstly, everyone deserves a chance at getting into the global tech industry.
According to Nelson, “access to feature, participate and compete in the global marketplace is not the exclusive right of developed and advanced economies of the world. Emerging and recovering countries also have this right.”
Third-world countries have largely been left out of the global tech industry. As a result, many are just coming in and trying to create a niche for themselves. The struggle has been intense, but the payoff is always worth it.
Through the activities of Zwart Academy and Zwart Recruit, Zwart Talent Foundation is bridging the gap and helping communities and countries find their spot on the global tech map.
Secondly, quality education should be easier and cheaper to get. It should also be available to all.
Nelson said, “quality education is not about quantity but relevance to the current economic demands. It is about the skills that are needed in the labor market.”
Policymakers and investors alike seem to miss a vital lesson about education: quality education is more about relevance than enormity.
The fact that a computer engineering student might only have three of his first eleven courses in a four-year university program related to computer engineering is a major indictment of this.
Of what use are seven or eight borrowed courses if they teach you no lesson that applies to your course of study?
How many years of schooling can be chopped out if “borrowed courses” were done away with? Or should we talk about how old the syllabuses are?
At Zwart Academy, we understand the importance of time. We also know the other incalculable costs associated with education.
With this in mind, we abridged our study period and made our syllabus concise to include only relevant subject matters.
With only six months of training, facilitated by practicing professionals, and classes being 100% practical, our graduates will emerge more informed, experienced, and confident than any student of any four-year degree-awarding institution in Nigeria.
Thirdly, age is not a hindrance.
To get into a Nigerian university, you have to be 16 years old. However, that is an age where you could have already completed your training at Zwart Academy and be halfway through your one-year internship.
During his interview, Nelson gave this example: “imagine a 15-year-old if she goes through the training she will complete the training at fifteen and a half. Then, at sixteen and a half, she completes the training and becomes a junior developer.
“She would be earning the same as someone who went to university for four or five years who is also a junior developer.”
There is an added advantage; in the four years it will take her agemate to get a BSc, she would have gotten three and half years of experience.
By the time her friends complete their NYSC, she would have gone from a junior developer to a mid-level developer. All before the age of twenty-one.
Would you please take a second to think about the economic implication for her, her family, and friends?
Fourthly, with no upfront cost, economic class is not a barrier to a successful career in tech.
Getting quality education in information technology right now is an exorbitantly expensive endeavor. Students of state-owned and federal universities must enroll for online and offline training to get the same knowledge they are supposed to get.
Failure to do this will leave you with a certificate you cannot defend in practice.
This means other than school fees, at least, you still have to budget a separate amount of money for data or transportation to a free training session. The more qualitative training meanwhile will cost quite the fortune.
Spread this expense over four years, and you begin to realize that cheap education is not cheap after all.
For students of private universities, the education is more qualitative but so expensive that anyone from a below high-middle class family cannot dream of attending them.
If you are fortunate enough to get a scholarship, then you can thank your lucky stars. But how many scholarships are on offer to attend such schools in Nigeria annually?
Nelson said, “We have made the program free at zero profit to the candidate because they only pay for what they get at the end of the program when they get employment. This is important so that there can be continuity and other people can also benefit from the project. So that it will get to a point where it will need zero external funding. This is where the program becomes powerful and a systematic way of helping the community.”
Students admitted into Zwart Academy do not need to pay any money from their acceptance throughout their stay and until they graduate from the institution.
Thanks to Zwart Recruit, they will get the chance to work for tech companies around the world, and it is at that point that they will start paying back the cost of their education.
Imagine the amount of Nigerians that would have a university education if student loans were available in Nigeria.
The USA currently has student loans, yet most graduates are left with crippling debts that they struggle to pay all of their lives.
Zwart Talent Foundation is providing fully funded qualitative education, with accommodation and feeding inclusive. They are also providing a pathway into the job market.
It is only after a successful entry into the job market that the cost of the education would have to be paid back.
Best of all, only the cost of the education is paid back, adjusted for inflation. So no profit whatsoever is charged.
With an arrangement like this, the Nigerian youth can dream, wake up from that dream, and bring that dream of being a tech expert into reality, at no prior cost.
Finally, the time has come for Nigerian women to take their place in the tech industry.
Globally, there is an acute underrepresentation of women in tech. This is true across all STEM fields. It is a worrying trend that industry stakeholders have been working hard to remedy.
At Zwart Talent Foundation, we are contributing our quota to remedying this situation.
“As an ed-tech startup that promotes gender balance, 70% of the admission will be reserved for women,” Nelson mentioned.
For the inaugural class that will be resuming in October 2021, 70% of the admission spot has been reserved for young ladies interested in pursuing a career in tech.
With the intelligence, empathy, emotional maturity, analytical sagacity, and creativity that women bring into their chosen career, the tech industry would be a better place with more female presence.
We are not advocating for gender balance for virtue signaling. Instead, we are doing this because we have witnessed, on record, how women pioneered the field of programming and, through the years, have contributed in no small ways to scientific breakthroughs.
This and more is what we believe young Nigerian women will bless the world with in their awesomeness.
Poverty, gender, age, or any other thing should not be a hindrance to your pursuing and achieving your dreams.
If your dream is a career in infotech, then Zwart Talent Foundation is hedging all its bets on ensuring you achieve that dream and that you are successful, world-class, and a top earner in this industry.
Follow Zwart Talent on all social media platforms. You should also share this post with everyone you know who has a dream, an interest, and the potential to be a tech expert someday soon.
We will make that “someday” sooner rather than later.