Forge Academy launches AI lab in Johannesburg

Nokia-powered education facility Forge Academy has unveiled a fully inclusive artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory in Johannesburg.

The laboratory, based at The Gantry, in Fourways, aims to equip students with theoretical, laboratory and on-the-job training for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the global digital economy.

Forge Academy, in conjunction with Nokia’s global team of 4IR experts and leading Finnish education specialists, has designed a programme for South African youths that is modelled on Finnish education principles and equipped with Nokia smart technology.

The incubation hub is also working closely with the Finnish Embassy, Nokia and other corporates to provide an enabling space for 4IR technology-reliant startup businesses, wherein they can access special funding, laboratory time, WiFi, think tanks, smart technologies, assistance in product certification and the latest expertise.

“This is more than a dream come true for us, but a lifelong calling to forge people of purpose. We are humbled and immensely proud to launch this academic institution and incubation hub at a time when many youths need to know there is an open door for them to participate in creating a future in a world of work that is rapidly evolving,” said Forge Academy co-founder and CEO Arthur Wade Anderson.

Nokia is sponsoring 30 students for a year-long learnership in a 4IR certified diploma.

“Our objective is to develop skill sets within the next generation of engineers, technologists, entrepreneurs and job titles still to be created in the years to come, to ensure that South Africans are well prepared to take up their rightful place in their local economy,” said Nokia South Africa strategic relations and transformation head Pat Wiehahn.

The vision is that the first intake of students, upon completion of the one-year accredited diploma, will start their own businesses, further their studies at university, sponsored by Nokia or other companies, or join a company where their skills will be needed.

“We believe there are young people of purpose in our very midst that have the inherent abilities and talents to influence, impact and increase into the world. We want to invest in them through providing an education of the highest quality and transferring skills that will make them exceptional in the world,” said Forge Academy co-founder and COO Craig Clutty.

Forge Academy will also offer an array of short courses, including the Basics of Computing and Basics of Coding, which is targeted at children, to paying students.

“Technology has been a great enabler in this new economic age. Forge Academy will serve as a conduit for our youth who urgently need to harness new technologies to access a higher quality of education and the job opportunities currently available in this digitally driven economy,” Anderson comments.

“South Africa, just like the rest of the world, finds itself in the middle of a new revolution. The 4IR is creating opportunities for us to harness converging technologies to design an all-inclusive future.

“The actual opportunities for us are in looking beyond the technological advancements to come up with innovative ways to give citizens the ability to positively impact their families, communities and organisations,” said Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams

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