Alumni start-up amplifies online education access

A novel education development platform that prioritises the needs of skilled and semi-skilled South Africans is set to advance the country’s online training and development industry. The success of the start-up, the brainchild of five University of Cape Town (UCT) alumni, will be a game-changer for the country’s online learning space.

Created specifically with the needs of Africans in mind, Epitek works alongside organisations in the local accredited training sector to make learning fun and accessible. The start-up provides its clients with a white-label online education platform tailored to their individual needs and brand look and feel – making the platform uniquely client specific.

According to Sam Burditt, the head of product development at Epitek and a UCT mechanical and mechatronics engineering graduate, the business assists clients with the transition from an in-person learning environment to a digital learning space. The process includes moving all learning material onto a digital, easy-to-use platform to create a seamless learning experience. The platform is end-to-end and therefore allows the learner to proceed from course purchase to graduation without ever leaving the virtual environment.

“There has been a global shift towards online learning in the past five years, which was rapidly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal for us at Epitek [is] to advance online education in the country, and one way of doing that [is] by increasing the adoption of online systems as a tool to extend its reach,” Burditt said.

Promoting continuous learning

He said the idea to start Epitek came after one of the start-up’s founding members worked in the local accredited training sector and identified significant gaps in the learning process for both the learner and the training provider.  

“These inefficiencies decreased accessibility to education and required sizeable capital outlay on the side of the training providers. So, we put our heads together and came up with a plan of our own to address this challenge,” added Epitek’s chief executive officer, Matt Scott.

Fast-forward just a few months and Epitek was born. The platform includes e-learning, e-assessment, and a learner management system functionality. It aims to promote a continuous learning culture among its users and has been designed with local education structures in mind. And because the system has been created for Africans by Africans, Burditt said it takes local needs and drawbacks into consideration. To date, the start-up has worked with large accredited and non-accredited training providers to bring education and training to their existing and new client base.

An amplifier for education

“Epitek’s mission is to ensure that our edtech solutions will act as an amplifier for continuous learning, improve learners’ critical skills, which will eventually lead to an increase in employable individuals in the country and on the continent,” Scott said.

Plus, the benefits of an online learning platform like this one are endless. They allow training providers to shed a large chunk of their fixed costs and eliminate numerous learner restrictions, which include getting to class on time with a reliable mode of transport, while simultaneously factoring in their employment schedules.

“We understand and acknowledge that technology needs to accommodate all South Africans’ needs regardless of their background and we strive to do that with our platform. Epitek doesn’t just equip the learner with critical skills in order to develop in their respective careers, it empowers them to make those decisions with ease,” Burditt said.