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Jasco helps to address critical skills gap with on-going sponsorship of Telkom’s Centre of Excellence

02 September 2014

As part of its dedication to addressing the skills gap and furthering higher education in South Africa, Jasco has once again committed to support postgraduate research at Telkom’s Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Broadband Networks and Applications, established in the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Cape Town (UCT) since March 1997. The CoE is an interdisciplinary Centre for research into advanced networking systems, specialising in broadband networks and applications. It is part of the nationwide Telkom CoE initiative, aimed at imparting knowledge and developing skills in science, engineering and technology.


“As one of the industry partners, Jasco has committed resources towards ensuring that students in the telecoms engineering sector receive not only the education they need, but also the exposure, opportunities and experience required to contribute positively toward the economy. Jasco has been a supporter of Telkom’s CoE for the past eight years, helping to fund skills development in broadband technologies and telecommunications engineering, and we are now looking at expanding the scope of our involvement. This is essential in ensuring South Africa can compete on a global scale in an increasingly connected world, and also retain our local expertise” says Ben Steyn, Executive Head of Sales at Jasco ICT.


While skills development is key, skills retention is another critical challenge in South Africa. By partnering with significant industry players, Telkom’s CoE helps students to gain real world experience and exposure, and gives them the opportunity to be employed by these players once their studies are complete. In addition, CoE students are given the prospect to present a paper at the prestigious annual Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications Conference (SATNAC). This helps to showcase their skills, keep them up to date on the latest trends and technological innovations, and offers excellent networking opportunities.


“Jasco’s contribution and collaboration in our research program has had an enormous positive impact on the CoE at UCT. It has allowed us to establish a postgraduate exchange programme with international collaborative partners, and enabled more researchers and postgraduate students to present the findings of their research at highly reputable international conferences and fora. This has helped UCT to become the number one research institution in Africa. In addition, their support has enabled us to establish financial and administrative positions to help us effectively manage research activities. These functions are all crucial in assisting us to meet the communication challenges of South Africa today and in the future.” says Neco Ventura, Head of the CoE for Broadband Networks at the University of Cape Town.



The collaboration of industry and academia is essential in ensuring that skills developed at university level are relevant to the market and its needs. Telkom’s CoE has developed solid relationships with its industry partners, including Jasco, and is well positioned to meet the challenges ahead concerning the Internet of the future and how to enable future communication networks. The CoE saw three PhD and seven Masters graduates in 2013, with an equal number of both expected to complete their research in 2014.