Student perspectives

Takeaways from the launch of Refactory Tech Academy


Solomon Obwot


July 12, 2019

This was originally posted on TechJaja on June 15th, 2019.

Refactory, a tech skilling program founded by Fontes Foundation and technology company Laboremus Uganda, has officially launched from the home of fellow founding partner Clarke International University in Muyenga hills on Wednesday.

The event brought together representatives from different walks in the ICT sector to witness what’s believed to be the blueprint to minimise the skill-sets gap between what’s university syllabus teaches and what the job market needs.

The Refactory Tech Academy launch was officiated by the Minister of ICT and National Guidance of Uganda Honorable Frank Tumwebaze and made a number of remarks about the notable development on innovation across the ecosystem and applauded the team for the work well done with the initiative.

Since the biggest challenge according to companies in the industry is to find qualified tech employees around the country, let’s have a look at the key takeaway from the launch of Refactory tech academy.

Why university graduates aren’t ready for the job market?

Speaking at the launch, the program director Micheal Niyitegeka narrated how it was hard for companies to get job ready developers who are ready to deliver what they have learned from their respective universities.

A challenge most companies approached by training talents in-house after hiring and now this where the Refactory tech academy comes in to help bridge that gap by helping undergraduates learn the vital technologies plus tools companies are using and make them ready for hire after learning the required soft and technical skills.

Timothy Musoke, co-founder of tech firm Laboremus Uganda, shared his story on how the program was created.

When we founded Laboremus Uganda in 2013, one of the key assumptions we built the company on was that there would be thousands of young talented software developers coming out of the universities and that all we had to do was give them a place to use their skills. We were right about the immense talent. Unfortunately, the universities were not doing their job shaping that talent. It took us months to years to train our juniors to reach the level of our European and East African bank clients demand, he said.

A tech program made by the industry for the industry.

The project last year received a 4-year funding commitment from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) to help aid the smooth running of the stages. The project is broken down into three phases; namely the 3 months catalyst course, 6 months intense Bootcamp and the last mile program.

Applications for the Catalyst Course ends on 16. June 2019 in which successful students will be able to get lessons in both technical and non-technical skill sets including critical thinking, project management and introduction to leadership training. About 70% of the Refactory facilitators at the program aren’t university lecturers but rather consultants from the industry ready to impact students with the necessary expertise.

What’s in for the developers with Refactory?

After the 3 months catalyst course, the developers will enrol for an intense six-month practical Bootcamp where they’ll be working on solving real problems with partners. This is a huge boost to the developers in terms developing their coding efficiency and for the fact that you will be working on a real-world project, it will give you an edge on how to handle pressure with potential clients and deliver projects in time.

There are chances of more potential partners coming on board, apart from the possibility of getting hired there are chances of getting seed funding and mentorship on your ideas to kickstart your journey. On interacting with one potential partner in the event, she suggested she is working on making it possible to offer mentorship to students with entrepreneur spirits and give training on how to scale their ideas with an initial fund for equity in the company.

All photos: Apt Media

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