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Vodacom backs SA’s Journalist of the Year awards again

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The Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards returns this year to seek out and honour members of the media who have shown exceptional dedication to achieving excellence in their work.

Firmly established in encouraging, recognising and rewarding distinction in the arena of dissemination of news and information, the annual Vodacom Awards are recognised as a prestigious career achievement worthy of the R100 000 prize for the overall national winner.

The Vodacom Awards has a 10-year history of honouring excellence in journalism across a range of categories and has celebrated some of South Africa’s finest reporters and most newsworthy stories. This year, Vodacom has raised the bar in excellence and journalists can begin submitting their efforts now.

‚”We have reviewed the Journalist of the Year Awards, and we are delighted to announce the opening of entry season for the 2013 Awards,‚” said Maya Makanjee, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at Vodacom.

Journalists will be able to enter their best achievements in the following categories for work done in 2012/2013:

 Television General News

 Television Feature

 Print General News

 Print Feature

 Radio General News

 Radio Feature

 Financial/Economic

 Sport

 CSI/Sustainability

 Online

Editors can also nominate their candidates for:

ÔÇ∑ The Editor’s Choice Award and,

The judging panel will vote on:

ÔÇ∑ The Lifetime Achiever’s Award that recognises the lifetime contribution made by a single individual to journalism and media in this country.

Regional category winners will receive R5 000 each, national category winners will receive R10 000 each, with the coveted and sought-after national accolade of Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award winner receiving R100 000.

‚”The recognition of excellence in journalism is a way for us to acknowledge and reward those reporters who are communicating vital news of an extremely high standard. This fits very well within with our mission of connecting people and keeping them informed,‚” said Makanjee.

‚”This year we have assembled a veritable who’s who in the media world to act as judges for us. We are grateful to Elna Rossouw, Mary Papayya, Collin Nxumalo, Arthur Goldstuck, Professor Johann de Wet, Joe Thololoe, Ryland Fisher and Patricia McCracken, who have made their time and expertise available to us,‚” said Makanjee. Mary Papayya and Joe Thloloe will serve as co-convenors for this year’s awards.

The national Award ceremony will be held in Johannesburg in November 2013. We are looking forward to hosting South Africa’s top achievers in journalism again this year, and being able to showcase the fine work done by the media in the country, ‚”said Makanjee. . ‚”At the last Awards, the growing importance of social media was clearly on display as the event trended on social media platforms.

Entries are open from 1 July – 31 July. Journalists and editors nominating their Editor’s Choice candidates can enter online through the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards website on http://journalist.vodacom.co.za

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A career in data science – or your money back

The Explore Data Science Academy is offering high demand skills courses – and guarantees employment for trainees

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The Explore Data Science Academy (EDSA) has announced several new courses in 2020 that it says will radically change the shape of data science education in South Africa. 

Comprising Data Science, Data Engineering, Data Analytics and Machine Learning, each six-month course provides vital digital skills that are in high demand in the market place.  The full time, fully immersive courses each cost R60 000 including VAT. 

The courses are differentiated from any other available by the fact that EDSA has introduced a money back promise if it cannot place the candidate in a job within six months of graduation and at a minimum annual starting salary of R240 000.

“For South Africans with drive and aptitude, this is the perfect opportunity to launch a career in what has been called the sexiest career of the 21stcentury,” says Explore founder Shaun Dippnall.

Dippnall and his team are betting on the explosive demand for data science skills locally and globally.

 “There is a massive supply-demand gap in the area of data science and our universities and colleges are struggling to keep up with the rapid growth and changing nature of specific digital skills being demanded by companies.  

“We are offering specifically a work ready opportunity in a highly skills deficient sector, and one which guarantees employment thereafter.”

The latter is particularly pertinent to young South Africans – a segment which currently faces a 30 percent unemployment rate. 

“If you have skills in either Data Science, Data Engineering, Data Analytics or Machine Learning, you will find work locally, even globally. We’re confident of that,” says Dippnall.

EDSA is part of the larger Explore organisation and has for the past two years offered young people an opportunity to be trained as data scientists and embark on careers in a fast-growing sector of the economy.  

In its first year of operation, EDSA trained 100 learners as data scientists in a fully sponsored, full-time 12-month course.  In year two, this number increased to 400.  

“Because we are connected with hundreds of employers and have an excellent understanding of the skills they need, our current placement rate is over 90 percent of the students we’ve taught,” Dippnall says. “These learners can earn an average of R360 000 annually, hence our offer of your money back if there is no employment at a minimum annual salary of R240k within six months.

“With one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world – recently announced as a national emergency by the President – it is important that institutions teach skills that are in demand and where learners can earn a healthy living afterwards.”

There are qualifying criteria, however. Candidates need to live in close proximity (within one hour commuting distance), or be prepared to live, in either Johannesburg or Cape Town, and need to be between the ages of 18 and 55. 

“Our application process is very tough. We’ll test for aptitude and attitude using the qualifying framework we’ve built over the years. If you’re smart enough, you’ll be accepted,” says Dippnall.

To find out more, visit  http://www.explore-datascience.net.

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Triggerfish launches free digital learning Academy online

Platform designed for anyone wanting to understand more about career opportunities in animation.

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Triggerfish, in partnership with Goethe-Institut and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, has launched Triggerfish Academy, a free digital learning platform for anyone wanting to understand more about the career opportunities and how to get started in the field of animation. 

The website features 25 free video tutorials, quizzes and animation exercises introducing animation as a career and the principles of storytelling, storyboarding and animation, as well as several additional resources to help guide aspiring animators into a career in animation. 

“The South African animation industry is growing – and so is the demand for skilled animators globally,” said Noemie Njangiru, head of Culture and Development at Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, pointing to  the success of recent Triggerfish projects like the Oscar-nominated Revolting Rhymes; Mama K’s Team 4, recently announced by Netflix as their first original animated series from Africa; and this year’s New York Children’s Festival and Shanghai International Film and TV Festival winner Zog.  

Njangiru also highlighted the opportunities for animation outside the traditional film industry, within fields like advertising, app and web design, architecture, engineering, gaming, industrial design, medicine, and the motor industry, not to mention growth sectors like augmented reality and virtual reality

The course was created by Tim Argall, currently the animation director on Triggerfish’s third feature film, Seal Team. He’s roped in many of the South African animation industry’s brightest stars, from Malcolm Wope, character designer on Mama K’s Team 4, and Annike Pienaar, now working at Illumination in Paris on Sing 2, to Daniel Snaddon, co-director of the multi-award-winning BBC adaptations Stick Man and Zog, and Faghrie Coenraad, lead dressing and finaling artist on the Oscar-nominated Revolting Rhymes, as well as Triggerfish head of production Mike Buckland. The featured talent share not just their skills but also their stories, from how they broke the news they wanted to be animators to their parents, to common myths about the animation industry. 

“As kids, animation is part of our lives, so we don’t really think about the idea that animation is actually somebody’s job,” said Argall. “When I was a kid, I loved animation and I loved to draw. I remember when I was about 12, I thought: ‘I really want to see my drawings come to life. I want to be an animator.’ But I had no idea where to even begin.” 

Triggerfish Academy is his attempt to make it easier for the next generation of African animators: an accessible starter kit for anyone considering a career in animation. 

“By the end of working through this course, you’ll have all the background you need to know whether animation is a good choice for your career,” said Njangiru.  

Aspiring animators can also use Triggerfish Academyto learn how to write and animate their own short story, then post their animation on the Academy’s Facebook group for feedback and advice from professional animators. 

Triggerfish Academy is set up so that youth can play with it directly, but it’s also been designed to double as an activity plan for teachers, NGOs and after school programmes to use. Schools, organisations and other animation studios who are interested in using it can contact Triggerfish for additional free classroom resources.

Triggerfish Academy is just one of a number of Triggerfish initiatives to train and diversify the next generation of African animators, like sponsoring bursaries to The Animation School; the Mama K’s Team 4 Writers Lab with Netflix; the pan-African Triggerfish Story Lab, supported by The Walt Disney Company and the Department of Trade and Industry; Animate Africa webinars; Draw For Life; and the Triggerfish Foundation schools outreach programme. For more information, visit www.triggerfish.com/academy.  

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