MasterStart and UK-based Cambridge Spark collaborate to bring data analysis and AI training online for African professionals

Jessamy Amic

Posted: August 11, 2021

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South African startup MasterStart and UK-based AI specialist Cambridge Spark hope to bridge the gap between hard technical skills and the human skills needed to thrive in the areas of technology that are most in demand.

South African edtech MasterStart and UK-based Cambridge Spark today announced a partnership that will provide students across the African continent with access to data analysis and AI training courses, online.

Many African economies are struggling to meet the need for the digital skills, including data science and artificial intelligence expertise, that are needed for organisations to truly get the best out of digital transformation in the public and private sectors.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted efforts to address this, requiring skills development initiatives to move wholly online.

The Cambridge Spark MasterStart partnership aims to address this through providing access to world-class, online courses that address the need for hard technical skills combined with the human skills leaders need.

Cambridge Spark is a UK-based specialist provider of data science and artificial intelligence courses. MasterStart has spent recent years building out its portfolio of management and leadership courses in partnership with South Africa’s most prestigious business schools including USB-Ed, University of Cape Town and GIBS. The company delivers programmes to over 5 000 students each year and has provided training in over sixty countries including those on the African continent such as Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia.

This partnership with Cambridge Spark signals both MasterStart’s international expansion and a move into key data and analysis skills with world class technology training providers.

Says MasterStart CEO, Ben Pike: “This partnership will unlock the leadership potential of thousands of students and deliver a diverse pipeline of top talent, accelerating technological and data driven innovation.”

Comments Emma Wade-Smith OBE, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa at the UK Department for International Trade: “We welcome the Cambridge Spark and MasterStart partnership. With 230 million jobs across the continent requiring digital skills by 2030, this collaboration is timely and essential, demonstrating the impact we can make when we work together and share our knowledge and expertise to help increase skills development and prosperity across Africa.

Through Cambridge Spark’s leading data analysis and AI online training courses, students can acquire the skills they need to grow and utilise their newfound knowledge to contribute to technological advancements in essential industries like healthcare, education, financial services, and agriculture.”

“This partnership aims to develop and promote the use of data analysis to accelerate technological and data-driven innovation that will help unlock Africa’s potential on a global scale,” adds Cambridge Spark Founder and CEO Raoul-Gabriel Urma. “It will also contribute to data science skills development and the empowerment of African youths in a field that is increasingly providing opportunities for career advancement.”

The partnership is especially timely as recent South African government figures put the youth unemployment rate at record levels while at the same time many employers are finding it difficult to fill vacancies, particularly those requiring specialist skills.

The first courses are expected to kick off in July 2021.

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