The ‘X’ factor: Dekra IOL and AfricaX partnership drives exponential expansion of pan-African digital training

Jessica Rees-Jones

With the digitalisation of learning and training having been accelerated and expedited by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (‘4IR’) and the Covid-19 pandemic, the Dekra Institute of Learning (IOL) and AfricaX Academy – both trusted platforms for digital education and learning across a range of industry sectors – have entered into a revolutionary strategic partnership.

This will see both companies leveraging their respective footprints and reputations: Dekra IOL’s as part of its parent company, global safety stalwart DEKRA and with a sound reputation for health and safety training locally; and Western Cape-based AfricaX which offers a distinctive 12-tier ‘ladder of learning concept’. This is supported by a trusted local and global network of partners, which will imminently span  over 37 countries, more than 140 institutions – including tertiary education icons Harvard and Cambridge – and offer over 4 500 courses.

Exponential expansion

This milestone collaboration will enable and facilitate the exponential expansion of the two companies’ joint offering through an enhanced digital training concept; and will ultimately help to close the skills development gap both locally and pan-Africa.

“By creating this synergy between two powerful educational forces – both of which possess an equal passion and enthusiasm for disrupting traditional training methodologies and enhancing students’ learning in the process – we can ensure that learners across all industries receive an exceptional level of training,” says Christopher Mörsner, Head of the Training Division at DEKRA Industrial’s Institute of Learning.

“Significantly, the expertise supplied by AfricaX not only enables Dekra IOL to enhance our training and digital footprint, but the collaboration lays the foundation for our two companies to jointly be established as one of the largest digital training providers in Africa,” Mörsner highlights.

Jessica Rees-Jones, AfricaX founder and CEO agrees: “Dekra IOL brings specialised and niche expertise and skills across the entire health and safety training spectrum; while AfricaX brings the scalability, speed and a significant range of other course content.

This is made possible because AfricaX is a unique education and empowerment ecosystem for business, with a wide range of training on offer: from entry-level courses for first-time employees to SETA-accredited courses and learnerships, all the way through to post-graduate degrees offered in collaboration with Harvard University.”

Dekra IOL, created in 2020 as an affordable remote and classroom-based resource for individuals and employees looking to train in industry-related, as well as health and safety disciplines, can now – with a ‘digital learning passport’  – facilitate more expansive training in multiple respects:

“Through our collaboration with AfricaX, Dekra IOL can now offer significantly augmented educational content – from entry-level to MBA graduate and executive management level courses – all on a single and scalable digital platform,” Mörsner explains.

‘Blended’ learning across Africa

Notably, the expansion of an enhanced geographical footprint comes into play, as the content offered on AfricaX’s digital platform through a methodology of ‘blended’ interactive learning, can easily be accessed across Africa and in multiple languages, via a user-friendly format.

Through AfricaX’s concept of blended learning, content is presented and received through digital workspaces, webinars, podcasts, e-learning and digital classrooms; as well as the ‘Big Little Box’, which takes the digital learning into a physical environment or workspace – anywhere. 

Andre Jacobs

“To this end, learners with minimal schooling can gently be eased into online learning, while being provided with an opportunity to excel,” says Andre Jacobs, Technical Director at AfricaX.

Going vertical

With Dekra IOL’s vision of expanding into multiple industries, the AfricaX partnership further provides Dekra IOL with the ‘X factor’: a mixed basket of products and collaborative training services for various vertical industries.

“In addition to providing the existing catalogue of Dekra IOL courses – most of which focus on health, safety and environmental industry-related training – the Institute, through AfricaX, can now meet additional training needs or demand for specific courses in many vertical sectors,” Mörsner elaborates.

“Furthermore, if the required course is not available, we will co-create and curate the desired course – providing students and companies an assurance of high-quality, yet easily understood and accessible training, supported by that all-important interactive learning experience,” he explains.

Digital delivery of SETA-accredited courses

Testament to this tailored approach is the partners’ new and exciting digital delivery and approach to SETA-accredited courses – starting with  the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) – a co-creation which is driven by Dekra IOL’s possession of the required certifications and content; and AfricaX’s pedagogy, methodology and delivery platform.

“Dekra IOL’s possession of tremendous skills, quality and expertise thereby becomes the bedrock for AfricaX in gaining traction with customers and in narrowing any skills development disparities,” Rees-Jones says.

Credible and seamless candidate selection and on-boarding

While customers are provided with an expanded choice of training, with courses which can be customised and curated, the collaboration also offers a high level of standards and accessibility: “Through AfricaX’s dashboard – an authentic and credible seamless platform – businesses are offered a transparent history of training; while the selection and on-boarding processes are streamlined and simplified,” says Rees-Jones.

Notably, for companies involved in infrastructural development projects or mining in Africa, this is ideal, as they are required to employ and upskill the local workforce with the requisite skills and safety compliance: “This demand presents a massive opportunity for Dekra IOL and AfricaX, which will grow exponentially over the next decade,” Jacobs points out.

Johan Gerber

Johan Gerber, Dekra Industrial RSA’s Managing Director agrees: “As with legendary treasure maps, ‘X’ marks the spot for unimaginable wealth and riches. With this partnership, both DEKRA IOL and AfricaX can make their mutual mark: exponentially expanding the empowerment of learners and providing the best possible training on a digital platform available across Africa.

This co-creation of a truly rich digital training offering – complemented by user-friendly, practical learning – facilitates the positive digital disruption of learning in the market, and will become the driving force propelling Dekra IOL and AfricaX forward into an exciting future,” he concludes.

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