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Our Vision & Mission:

The Red Academy Foundation is on a mission to transform South Africa by supporting talented youth to access experiential-based training for skilled careers in technology and to create guaranteed permanent employment for these youth.

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Through redAcademy, an innovative skills and experiential learning hub that specialises in teaching coding and technology skills, and their first graduation, we have witnessed the remarkable talent, passion, commitment, and drive of South African youth. Despite challenging circumstances, redAcademy has succeeded in transforming their lives and contributing to South Africa’s skilled tech talent pool, leading to permanent employment in the sector.

The Red Academy Foundation aims to support redAcademy’s goal of youth empowerment through the support from stakeholders and investors across South Africa. We have garnered strong support from stakeholders who recognise the potential of our youth, economy, and country. We are proud to have secured permanent employment opportunities for 100% of our successful candidates – or Sprinters, as we call them – from Day One after their graduation.

Together, we are determined to springboard talented youth into technology careers, opening up new opportunities for the economy and changing the future of our nation.

Trustees:

The five trustees of The Red Academy Foundation are a dedicated and diverse group of individuals who bring a wealth of expertise and experience to guide and support the foundation’s mission of empowering youth through education, skills development and permanent employment.

Jessica Hawkey

Founder & Trustee

Jessica Hawkey is the Founder of The Red Academy Foundation.

She is deeply passionate and driven to close the experience gap through a new way of learning and experiencing, launching carefully selected talented South African youth into skilled careers in the tech industry.

Jessica is also the Managing Director of redAcademy, an organisation committed to building a sustainable pipeline of skilled software developers to support corporates’ tech talent strategies.

Jessica previously held the position of General Manager of Operations at the Carrick group of companies, a multi-award-winning offshore Wealth Management organisation. Having joined Carrick from State Street Poland, in which she was responsible for the launch and training of the Asset Manager Services division in the country.

Insaaf Daniels

Trustee | Human Capital Director at redPanda Software

Insaaf Daniels is the Human Capital Director at redPanda Software. With qualifications in Human Resources Development and Financial Management, Insaaf began her career as a Human Resources Administrator and worked her way to Human Resources Business Partner for one of the largest retailers in Africa.

Insaaf joined redPanda Software in 2021. As a Human Capital Director, she introduces a new and highly focused approach to recruitment, staff growth, wellbeing, and employee relations – allowing redPanda Software to move boldly and with confidence into the new world of work.

Insaaf is passionate about the potential of South Africa’s youth entering the workforce and has embraced this in her role at redPanda Software.

Louis Koen

Trustee | Founder of Crimson Line

As a trustee of The Red Academy Foundation, Louis Koen is a visionary in South Africa’s tech industry, driven by a passion for IT and a fearless approach to change. Founder of Crimson Line in 1998, Louis’s journey showcases excellence and longevity. Extensively experienced in Windows and Linux, his leadership has solidified Crimson Line as a leading cloud solution provider, a testament to his enduring success.

An early adopter, Louis champions change for progress, prioritising communication and empathy to ensure the triumph of new deployments. His dedication to education led him to become a robotics instructor at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy in 2015, reflecting his commitment to guiding the next generation.

Louis Koen’s legacy is one of relentless innovation and empowerment. As a trustee of The Red Academy Foundation, he shapes a future where technology propels progress and transforms lives.

Gareth Hawkey

Trustee | Group CEO redPanda Software & Non-Executive Chairman of redAcademy

Gareth has over 30 years of experience within the IT industry, and holds an MBA from the University of Cape Town. He has a deep and long standing passion for business and the development of the human capital.

With over 20 years of experience in the retail technology sphere, Gareth brings immense strategic business acumen to redPanda Software team as Group CEO and non-executive chairman of redAcademy. His unique insight has come from diverse and high-level work, including spending 10 years working with a large listed retailer; and a further 10 years on the other side of the desk, supplying retailers with dynamic technology solutions.

Iain Banner

Trustee

For over 35 years, Iain Banner has co-founded and directed various successful businesses and charitable ventures throughout the world, across the sports, entertainment, luxury goods and hospitality industries. As co-founder and chairman of E-Movement, Iain and his partners successfully staged Formula E Cape Town in February 2023.  Prior to that, they also staged ‘Africa’s Green Economy Summit’, connecting capital with the Green Economy; launched Formula Student Africa and staged the ELECTRIC Festival.  GO GREEN AFRICA was launched by Iain at this time too.

 

Iain’s previous projects include co-founding Sports International, the Gary Player Design Company, and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Iain also co-founded the Laureus World Sport Awards and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which has raised over €250 million supporting some 300 projects annually, using sport as a tool for social change in the lives of children. Independent assessments have shown that some 7 million children have been positively impacted by the work of the Sport for Good Foundation since it was founded in 2000.

Trustees:

The five trustees of The Red Academy Foundation are a dedicated and diverse group of individuals who bring a wealth of expertise and experience to guide and support the foundation’s mission of empowering youth through education, skills development and permanent employment.

Founder & Trustee

Jessica Hawkey

Jessica Hawkey is the Founder of The Red Academy Foundation. 

She is deeply passionate and driven to close the experience gap through a new way of learning and experiencing, launching carefully selected talented South African youth into skilled careers in the tech industry.

Jessica is also the Managing Director of redAcademy, an organisation committed to building a sustainable pipeline of skilled software developers to support corporates’ tech talent strategies. 

Jessica previously held the position of General Manager of Operations at the Carrick group of companies, a multi-award-winning offshore Wealth Management organisation. Having joined Carrick from State Street Poland, in which she was responsible for the launch and training of the Asset Manager Services division in the country.

Trustee | Human Capital Director at redPanda Software

Insaaf Daniels

Insaaf Daniels is the Human Capital Director at redPanda Software. With qualifications in Human Resources Development and Financial Management, Insaaf began her career as a Human Resources Administrator and worked her way to Human Resources Business Partner for one of the largest retailers in Africa. 

Insaaf joined redPanda Software in 2021. As a Human Capital Director, she introduces a new and highly focused approach to recruitment, staff growth, wellbeing, and employee relations – allowing redPanda Software to move boldly and with confidence into the new world of work.

Insaaf is passionate about the potential of South Africa’s youth entering the workforce and has embraced this in her role at redPanda Software. 

Trustee | Founder of Crimson Line

Louis Koen

As a trustee of The Red Academy Foundation, Louis Koen is a visionary in South Africa’s tech industry, driven by a passion for IT and a fearless approach to change. Founder of Crimson Line in 1998, Louis’s journey showcases excellence and longevity. Extensively experienced in Windows and Linux, his leadership has solidified Crimson Line as a leading cloud solution provider, a testament to his enduring success.

An early adopter, Louis champions change for progress, prioritising communication and empathy to ensure the triumph of new deployments. His dedication to education led him to become a robotics instructor at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy in 2015, reflecting his commitment to guiding the next generation.

Louis Koen’s legacy is one of relentless innovation and empowerment. As a trustee of The Red Academy Foundation, he shapes a future where technology propels progress and transforms lives.

Trustee | Group CEO redPanda Software & Non-Executive Chairman of redAcademy

Gareth Hawkey

Gareth has over 30 years of experience within the IT industry, and holds an MBA from the University of Cape Town. He has a deep and long standing passion for business and the development of the human capital.

With over 20 years of experience in the retail technology sphere, Gareth brings immense strategic business acumen to redPanda Software team as Group CEO and non-executive chairman of redAcademy. His unique insight has come from diverse and high-level work, including spending 10 years working with a large listed retailer; and a further 10 years on the other side of the desk, supplying retailers with dynamic technology solutions.

Iain Banner

Trustee

For over 35 years, Iain Banner has co-founded and directed various successful businesses and charitable ventures throughout the world, across the sports, entertainment, luxury goods and hospitality industries. As co-founder and chairman of E-Movement, Iain and his partners successfully staged Formula E Cape Town in February 2023.  Prior to that, they also staged ‘Africa’s Green Economy Summit’, connecting capital with the Green Economy; launched Formula Student Africa and staged the ELECTRIC Festival.  GO GREEN AFRICA was launched by Iain at this time too.

 

Iain’s previous projects include co-founding Sports International, the Gary Player Design Company, and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Iain also co-founded the Laureus World Sport Awards and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which has raised over €250 million supporting some 300 projects annually, using sport as a tool for social change in the lives of children. Independent assessments have shown that some 7 million children have been positively impacted by the work of the Sport for Good Foundation since it was founded in 2000.

The Red Academy Foundation is on a mission to transform South Africa by supporting talented youth to access experiential-based training for skilled careers in technology and to create guaranteed permanent employment for these youth.