Microsoft B-BBEE level 2 Learning centre

[posted on IT Web: Nov 2016]

Microsoft award-winning IT and Business learning company, LGIT Smart Solutions, has taken on a partner and is now a 51% Black-owned business. The deal was finalised last month in Johannesburg.

Natascha and Mavis

Natascha Prussen – MD LGIT Smart Solutions (left) with Mavis Mohlolo – Owner Siyakhula Cala (right)

Natascha Prüssen, MD of LGIT, explained the move. “At LGIT we are all about uplifting people, business and community, so in the spirit of transformation, we wanted to ensure that we were helping with effective skills transfer in South Africa.” Although some reports suggest the country’s economy has slipped to third place in Africa, behind Nigeria and Egypt, South Africa is still regarded as Africa’s most advanced and industrialised economy, with Johannesburg its undisputed wealthiest city. “This gives us an infrastructure, processes and knowledge advantage over other countries in Africa,” Prüssen added. “We can use this to enhance effective skills transfer, which will ensure that the IT specialists coming out of South Africa are among the best and brightest in the world. This can then be used to play a bigger role in the growth of IT on the continent. By upskilling local people, we can reach out to other people in Africa and help upskill them too.”

The purposeful MD further explained the considerable value to LGIT clients, elaborating that aside from the obvious benefits in terms of transformation and skills transfer, another big advantage is that it helps customers receive maximum points on their BEE scorecards. LGIT has accomplished B-BBEE Level 2 recognition on the new scorecard, which enables clients to receive consequential procurement benefits plus points for skills development, ED and SED funding. LGIT is a 51% black owned, qualifying small enterprise and as such every R1 spent with LGIT will count as R3.75 on your procurement scorecard. LGIT, as an accredited learning institution, will take care of your employed and unemployed learning requirements – earning you maximum points on the skills development and procurement scorecard. LGIT has also ensured that they qualify as an Enterprise and Supplier Development beneficiary.

Siyakhula graduation

Siyakhula graduation – held at Ebony Park, Midrand showing students celebrating their new found IT skills.

And then of course there’s Siyakhula. The Siyakhula Computer School began to take shape in 2001, when a group of individuals variously connected to the IT industry began voluntarily providing computer literacy classes to a small group of individuals. A few years into the programme, the informal Saturday morning sessions had expanded to midweek evening sessions and the number of volunteers began to grow. LGIT Smart Solutions were among the earliest volunteers and were soon training 60-70 students a year.

With a glint in her eye, Prüssen delights the listener with the adventure. “From the outset there was a natural synergy between LGIT and Siyakhula Computer School, and what we were trying to achieve. The unemployment rate in South Africa was a huge concern and we knew that computer skills would provide learners with a better opportunity to get a job.”

The more we got involved, the more we saw the synergies between LGIT and Siyakhula, and over time we committed more resources to the project. Our mantra has always been about changing lives and empowering individuals, building communities, and ultimately bringing sustained benefit to Africa.”

Empowering women has also been a driving factor in getting the Siyakhula programme off the ground, as statistics show that when a woman becomes empowered, both the immediate family and then the community do too. A great example of this is the case study of Mavis Mohlolo, the current centre manager at Cala. When she first enrolled at Siyakhula she did not know how to use a computer at all. All she knew was that she wanted to improve her circumstances and help others do the same. Once she graduated she started volunteering and discovered that she had a gift for teaching.  Soon she was running the centre as her own grassroots social enterprise. She dedicated her time and energy to the community of Ivory Park and trained and monitored her students daily. Today, she’s opened up a branch in the Eastern Cape to spread IT literacy into the rural communities.

The growth of the Siyakhula Centres has seen a number of pressing needs of contemporary South Africa being addressed, including:

  • affordable computer literacy learning to individuals at a fraction of the market-related costs for Microsoft end-user training,
  • accessibility to students who are first-time computer users and non-first language English speakers,
  • affordable access to the Internet,
  • sustainable employment through locally owned-and-managed computer centres that run as grassroots social enterprises and
  • fully functional centres that run training for over 1,500 students across 5 branches, every year.

“It’s a natural fit,” Prüssen believes. “Taking on a BEE partner to aid in further transformation of Africa’s IT sector and the work we do with Siyakhula dovetails beautifully with our company mission, which is expressed through our slogan: Uplifting: Business, People, Community. And in the immortal words of Einstein, ‘Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.’ We can’t argue with that!”

To develop a learning solution that meets your needs, please contact us www.lgit.co.za.

Microsoft Excel Champs – It’s not local, it’s global!

[posted on IT Web: Oct 2016]

Microsoft Excel World ChampLGIT Smart Solutions, the Johannesburg-based IT training company that won the coveted Microsoft Learning Partner Award last year, is involved in another round of the Microsoft Excel Championship on behalf of Microsoft South Africa. This is the second time the event is being held locally, and forms part of the global Microsoft Office Specialist Championship.

Mark Dorfling, the OEM Sales Manager at Microsoft (South Africa), has the following to say: “We are excited that we are rolling out the Excel Championships again. We are also pleased that we have managed to target more countries, with a view to getting a global champion from this round’s crop of entries. Further to this, we are happy to work with LGIT Smart Solutions again to evaluate the entries.”

In response, Natascha Prüssen, MD of LGIT, enthuses, “Again, what a delight that we have been tasked with the exciting job of helping Microsoft to choose the winner. Training and upskilling people is our purpose, so this is right up our alley. It ties in with our mission to uplift business, people and community, and we love being at the forefront of Microsoft initiatives to create a bit of healthy competition!”

The competition opened on 3 October and closes on 2 November. Microsoft, in conjunction with LGIT, will run a special 4-round Excel competition for residents of these countries. Only the top competitors in each round will go through to the next level, and finalists will compete against one another for the title of Excel Champ South Africa. Then, in early 2017, winners from across the globe will compete with one another for the title of Excel World Champ. The global victor wins the grand prize of a trip to Seattle, and this will include a meeting with the Excel Product Leads to provide feedback on new features that will be added to Excel.

One of LGIT’s highly experienced Excel trainers, Jackie Blommestijn, in conjunction with Microsoft, will be encouraging entry into the competition with fun and informative videos placed on social media.
In terms of the competition format, each test spreadsheet will include three challenges, all athletically themed for some tongue-in-cheek fun: data relays (accessing, structuring, managing and manipulating data), chart gymnastics (visually representing data to best tell a story, as judged by a panel of experts and the Excel community), and formula wrestling (using formulas to dynamically solve questions, even if the data changes).

If you value your Excel skills and can see yourself aiming for the stars, take that step and enter the challenge. For more information, please visit http://www.lgit.co.za/excelchamp.aspx. If you’re not quite there yet, drop LGIT Smart Solutions a line for Microsoft-specific solutions and training needs, including Microsoft certification and business training. Good luck with the competition!

LGIT is the brains behind the Microsoft Excel Championship

[posted on IT Web: 10 June 2016]

LGIT Smart SolutionsIT Web: ExcelChampSA, the Johannesburg-based IT training company that won the coveted Microsoft Learning Partner Award last year, powered the Microsoft Excel Championship on behalf of Microsoft South Africa – the first time the event is being held locally.

The local Excel winner was announced recently at Microsoft’s SA head office in Bryanston, in a competition powered by LGIT Smart Solutions.
“Since we love training and helping people with skills in IT, and because of our close association with Microsoft, it made sense for us to set up and put together the local competition for Excel,” says Natascha Prüssen, MD of LGIT. “We have no doubt that people who are upskilling themselves in IT – and who are then able to enter this competition – are a huge benefit to the brain gain in South Africa, and we are thrilled to be a part of that knowledge and skills transfer,” Prüssen added.

The competition rewards people who have the powers of Excel alchemy – the ability to turn meaningless data (base metal) into strategic business insights (gold). Such insights can then be used to help companies maintain their competitive edge because they are able to interpret data that can have a significant impact on business.
Prüssen explains that LGIT powered the competition together with Microsoft, spending in excess of 120 hours developing spreadsheets for this very purpose. Awareness of the competition was driven via online and social media platforms. The three online rounds, which included the open rounds, the quarter final and the semi-final, culminated in the finals which were held at Microsoft. The top three positions, plus one wildcard and one shootout, saw five people compete for the number one spot. The winner, Corné van Heerden, walked away with various prizes including a high-spec laptop.
“We are really pleased that Microsoft has great faith in us,” says Prüssen, “that they would entrust us with the task of creating the tests that would determine the winner.
Because much of our training for clients revolves around Microsoft packages and software, we maintain a close relationship with them. We always strive to give our learners and trainers the very best, and we acknowledge the pivotal role that Microsoft plays as a market leader in the IT field.”
For IT boffins who want to know more about the next competition (and actually know what ‘VLookup’ means!), or to get a sneak preview with some crib notes on what to expect next time around, please log onto this link: https://lgitsmart.com/2016/04/12/battling-with-vlookup/
For those yet-to-be IT boffins who want to excel at Excel, LGIT Smart Solutions is the one-stop training solution centre to uplift your skills.

Time is the new currency: LGIT offers virtual on-demand training

[posted on IT Web: 17 March 2016]

LGIT Smart SolutionsIT Web Article: On-Demand, the Johannesburg-based training company that won the coveted Microsoft Learning Partner Award last year, is responding to changing market forces by offering students the opportunity to learn when it suits them, with virtual on-demand training.

This type of training creates an environment for students where they can control their own learning experiences by deciding what they learn, and where and when they learn it.
Natascha Prüssen, MD of LGIT Smart Solutions, explains the concept as follows: “The training landscape is changing. Customers want the opportunity to train virtually, which means they can study when it suits them as opposed to having to make their way to a classroom. In a time-starved society like ours, with traffic considerations and the general frenetic pace of life, it makes sense to offer students the ability to learn online from the comfort of their own computer – be that in a coffee shop, at home, at work, or wherever they choose.”

Prüssen adds that the training LGIT is involved in lends itself very well to the notion of virtual on-demand. “Much of our training is based around IT, which is at the forefront of online innovation, so we want to be cutting-edge in terms of our training solutions. It’s a natural extension of the seamless marriage between computers and the Internet.”

The biggest advantages of virtual on-demand versus classroom-based training are that it is self-paced, there are instructional videos to guide students, there is a modular course structure which means that students can easily follow the flow of the work and can focus on contained themes and topics at one time (finishing those before they move onto the next ones), the courses are available 24/7/365, and the work can be done from anywhere.

LGIT Smart Solutions has identified its core target market for virtual on-demand as being IT managers in enterprises and mid-market segments who want high-quality training alternatives that are more time-effective and more cost-efficient, and IT professionals and developers, who want the flexibility to build the deep technical expertise they need whenever they choose, wherever they choose – though, of course, the material is available to anyone who seeks to upskill themselves.
“We love what we do,” says Prüssen, “and we believe that this will serve our students and clients better, so we are very excited to add this to our extensive mix of training solutions.”

For more information, please e-mail LGIT Smart Solutions: info@lgitsmart.co.za.
For more general information on LGIT Smart Solutions, please visit its Web site: http://www.lgit.co.za.

LGIT’s participation in connecting graduates with business helps to address unemployment gap

[posted on IT Web: 17 Feb 2016]

LGIT Smart Solutionsinstructor, the Johannesburg-based training company that won the coveted Microsoft Learning Partner Award last year, is helping graduates gain real-world experience through on-the-job training, ultimately helping them to become employed.
The company has access to funding from a major global IT brand, which allows them to aid in training graduates, to bring them on par with IT international certification. The programme is about connecting companies with graduates.

“One of the things we most love about this programme,” says Natascha Prüssen, MD of LGIT Smart Solutions, “is the opportunity it creates for employment, which ties in very strongly with the core values of our company. We really have a desire to help people with training, and for them to use that training to impact their lives and the lives of those they support. It’s wonderfully rewarding!”
The initiative affords companies who want to be involved in developing skills in South Africa, to take on graduates. Their role is to provide real work experience to an IT graduate over a period of one year, and pay them a minimum stipend of R3 500 per month, which is seen as an internship.

Prüssen believes the programme has legs because it connects jobs with grads, and not the other way around, which is often the case with work-integrated learning programmes. As such, LGIT Smart Solutions acts as a go-between for the graduates and jobs, without creating false hope for students and/or inundating companies with many CVs for just a few positions. “An important consideration is we are not inviting graduates to contact us, but rather businesses, who want to be involved in skills development. Our pool of graduates is then given the first opportunity to seek an internship, provided they meet the minimum requirements and are currently unemployed.  They need to be South African citizens, under 35 with a minimum of a 2 year IT diploma.” LGIT then places the correct graduates with companies.

Another big advantage is that the programme addresses the skills shortage in the IT sector. Therein lies the great irony – there are jobs available, but there is still an unemployment problem, because companies battle to find the correct staff to fill positions. This programme is an effective way to bridge that gap more coherently, states Prüssen.
Companies interested in seeking graduates for internship positions can find more information on the following link: http://www.lgit.co.za/files/promos/S2B-flyer-partners.pdf

LGIT thanks customers and partners as they scoop prestigious Microsoft award

[posted on IT Web: 11 Nov 2015]

IT Web Article Nov 2015

LGIT Smart Solutions, a Johannesburg-based training company, was recently awarded the coveted Microsoft Learning Partner of the year Award at a glittering ceremony held by Microsoft.
“At the outset, it is important for us to say that we could never have done it without our partners and the wonderful people who put their faith in us and trained with us,” says Natascha Prüssen, MD of LGIT Smart Solutions. “Specific mention goes to our strategic partner, Dimension Data, for making this happen. Together with our wonderful customers, all we can say is that we are grateful to be working with such amazing people,” Prüssen adds.

The 2015 Microsoft Partner Network Awards honoured the company with the Learning Partner Award. The IT giant singled out LGIT specifically for its mission to deliver quality learning experiences that build profitable businesses and communities, while simultaneously recognising that because every customer is unique, their aim is to listen, to understand customer needs and to develop suitable customised solutions as a response to the market. Microsoft further described the company as: “A dynamic group who are passionate about their training philosophy and are focused on making a real difference in people’s lives.”
The award is an affirmation of LGIT’s values and brand ethos, which are a model of the new corporate cool: LGIT is a privately owned company that has successfully competed against listed companies, but more than that, it is women-owned and run, and it espouses flexibility. “We care, and this is why our first corporate customer is still with us today. This award is as much for our customers and Dimension Data as it is for us,” says Prüssen. “Not only do we want to be regarded as the best in the corporate space, we really want to make a difference in building IT literacy skills within impoverished communities. Our project in the former townships is called Siyakhula, we have been involved with them since 2000, and we train over 1 500 people per annum. This won us the Microsoft Corporate Social Initiative award in 2011.”

Further to this, LGIT has been recognised as a company that specialises in quality training, offers the best customer experience, prides itself on flexible delivery methods, customisation, and corporate customer user adoption, and is cutting edge when it comes to the delivery of emerging technologies.
The company has earned a reputation as having the best facilitators in the industry, fuelled as it were by real-world experience, which is why they are able to offer a training solution to assist corporate clients in improving service delivery to their users – no mean feat, given the magnitude of services rendered, the volumes of customers that they serve, and the challenges of providing solutions to global problems.

Microsoft also had this to say about their Learning Partner Award recipient: “LGIT Smart Solutions is the epitome of a true Microsoft Partner – working with us and our partners to drive adoption and deployment of the latest Microsoft technologies, to enable our customers to effectively grow their businesses.”
And what of the future? Prüssen is upbeat: “We love what we do, so it’s a wonderful feeling to know that we are being recognised for it. Our aim is to keep doing this, so that we can continue to make a difference. We march onwards and upwards in 2016, with great excitement, ready to serve people and meet their needs. Thank you again to all concerned, from customers and partners to our team at LGIT.”