Over the last few months, we have been looking at ways in which we can move Digital Campus away from being a one-off project and into an ongoing programme. Our focus is now on how we can help improve ICT professionalism, creating more career opportunities and better career paths for those who work in IT.
We have been investigating the various options for this and our plans now revolve around Digital Campus supporting (through a partnership agreement) an ICT company based in Ethiopia to provide quality ICT services. Digital Campus in Europe would stay not-for-profit, but we would like to steer clear of being seen as a charity or donor organisation. Although we’re able to source and provide hardware very close to being free, we would only want this equipment to be used in environments where there is a clear support structure in place. I know far too many donated computer labs either permanently locked up or hardware reduced to doorstops because it simply hasn’t been properly maintained.
Digital Campus Ethiopia (for want of a better name) would initially provide the first line of support, being directly based in the client organisation and Digital Campus Europe would initially provide the second/third line support, but also giving training, work experience and internships, with a view to the Ethiopian based company subsequently taking over this role, building into a viable self-sustaining business. This should help offer a higher level of service quality as well as being able to offer better paid career options to local staff.
The challenges are very high, especially in finding a suitable team of staff (or an existing company) to partner with, as these people will be critical to the success (or otherwise) of the venture. But everyone I’ve spoken to recently seems to see it as the ‘right way’ to go.
I’d be interested to hear thoughts and opinions on this approach.