Sparc Systems enhancing homegrown ICT skills training

The coronavirus pandemic has greatly affected business operations in most Malawian companies due to lockdown travel restrictions and the information and communications and technology (ICT) industry was not spared as it relied its skills training from developed world.

Wisely Phiri, SPARC Systems MD
Current training session
The trainees

The situation prompted one of Malawi’s top ICT companies, SPARC Systems Limited to innovate its training programmes by conducting virtual online skills trainings to encourage the business world to opt for  homegrown skills training life after COVID-19.

SPARC Systems Managing Director, Wisely Phiri told journalists on Wednesday that most companies, including the government, have positively embraced this homegrown skills training initiative and was positive that the business world might not opt in sending their experts outside the country post COVID-19.

“This is also because what we offer is the same training Malawians receive when they travel to UK, China, South Africa, the USA or elsewhere,” Phiri said.

“We use the same syllabuses and curriculums from the manufacturers of the softwares and they are also the ones who certify if the trainees have passed.

“The certificates they receive can be used anywhere in the world and the beauty of it is that such skills training is locally available through us.”

He added that currently they have 14 trainees undergoing training, most from the government with funding from the World Bank — 10 of them doing hands on training while four are doing virtual online.

“In the past, we used to train five a month but now were get as many as 15 for one training session, indicating that we now have confidence from the corporate business world as well as from the government.

“This was what I always advocated for when I was president for Information & Communication Technologies Association of Malawi [ICTAM] that there was need to advance for homegrown ICT skills training.”

He said companies and the government can save a lot of money they used to spend in sending their experts outside the country when it can be accessed locally with the solution lying under SPARC Systems.

“I should say we have always been offering these services but most people wanted to go outside the country mostly to get more allowances from their companies and for sightseeing.”

He said he realised how expensive it was to send staff for trainings outside Malawi when he was doing so for his staff that prompted him to send a cohort that became trainers in order to offer skill training for Malawians right at home.

On a good note, Phiri said COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation and reliance on local solutions as such they have seen an upsurge in demand for our software solutions as well as educational services.

“COVID-19 is upon us and it has come with new challenges. In all this, you can see that companies are now forced to use locally available solutions as skills in foreign countries are now restricted.

“As one of the leading technology company in Africa, SPARC investing heavily in terms of the human capital and equipment inorder to offer the best solutions to our customers.”

He said SPARC’s engineers and trainers are ranked amongst the best in the world and have offered solutions to many companies across Africa.

Currently, SPARC is in the final stages of constructing an office building in Lilongwe to enhance its tenacity to offer ICT solutions and training locally.

Phiri said he came up with an elaborate plan for the Lilongwe campus and he made sure he used locally experts from architecture to structural engineer and building contractors as well as the expert, who shall install solar power system.

“This was all to encourage others to go for homegrown skills rather than relying on foreign experts,” Phiri said.

In 2019, SPARC won two awards — Best Overal ICT Company and Best ICT Company in Infrastructure during the annual ICTAM gala.

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