Chengelo Students visit Bayport Financial Services, Infratel Zambia and Bigtree Beverages
On the 1st of April 2022, the Computer science and Business studies students took a school trip to visit Bayport Financial Services, Infratel Zambia and Bigtree Beverages. The objective of our trip was to enhance teaching and learning by exposing students to industry practices. Our school trip was extremely fun and very educational. The first place we visited was Bigtree. We visited the plant that produces beverages. As a computer science student, it was extremely exciting and fascinating to see how all the goodies we eat are made and to see how programming fits into the production of these goods.
We were warmly welcomed by Bigtree. When we just approached the building they gave each of us a blue hairnet to avoid hair particles in their products. We first went to the Bigtree canteen to get a brief introduction and hear the rules and regulations of Bigtree. We split into three groups and went around the whole plant witnessing how bottles are formed, where chemicals are stored and how sugar is transported through special machines. We saw how micro-biological tests are done to ensure the products have no faults. We visited the “Pilot”of the plant which is the first step of producing their products, this is where all the mixing is done.
At Bigtree we learnt how even if grid power goes off, their machines still function because they are programmed to switch to plan B which is where huge generators power the machines until power comes back. Before we left they gifted each of us a gift bag filled with each of their products from Vatra water to curry powder and gave us a motivational speech. It was an wonderful trip which we as Chengelo will never forget. It was extremely helpful to see what we learn in class being applied in real life.
Our next stop was Bayport financial services which is a micro-finance company that offers loans to government institutions and some other international institutes. We leared how the IT department is the backbone of Bayport. The first person to give us a brief introduction was a former Chengelo student, Mr. Henry Musonda. It was very motivating to watch him speak so professionally of Bayport after being a student here at Chengelo. We learned about how the portals for each member of staff are made and the security of their online banking system. At school we learned about error-checking which is a very important part of IT at Bayport. The experience taught us how important coding and automation are in today’s digital world.
We also learned about data encryption which means that people cannot hack the Bayport system. The most important lesson to me from Bayport was about disaster recovery. They have other sites for back-up so that the business can continue to run even if there was a catastrophe. Bayport was a very interesting experience and the staff where extremely welcoming. A number of us answered lots of difficult questions that they asked and we were rewarded with “Bayport Sungapo” shirts.
The last place we visited was Infratel. Infratel is a Zambian data center. We learnt that Infratel was set up to integrate and run all shareable ICT infrastructure from ZNDC. We had to put on reflective vests and have cloth material like shoes to ensure there was no dust in the in the data storage rooms. We saw a huge data center which had drawer-like compartments with devices storing each and every person’s data at Infratel. It was a cold room which was kept extremely clean. There where lots of cameras watching everything to ensure that data was safe.
Infratel makes sure data is kept safely and is not tampered with. My favourite part of Infratel was seeing the huge tower and discovering how different companies like Airtel and Zamtel rent parts of that tower to provide services for their customers. As a future computer scientist, I learned how what I learn in class applies in real life and I was definitely able to show these companies that Chengelo was doing a good job at bringing up future computer scientists and business men and women.
A number of students had some notable experiences which are shared in the subsequent statements:
“BigTree was one of my favorite companies we visited. I got to understand how local beverages are made and produced by their fascinating man-made machines!” – Deborah
“Infratel was by far the greatest experience of my life so far. I was so excited the moment we entered the main office that would lead to the data center, which is the coolest room I’ve ever been in!.” – Joanna
“I gained a fresh perspective on the relevance of ICT as a consequence of the Bayport Financial Services tour. I loved how well they presented what they do and how critical ICT is in keeping the company functioning. Because of the influence that Mr. Henry Musonda had on me, I believe that if I opened a Sungapo account, all of my savings would be safely stored in Bayport Bank’s capable hands. It was an excellent educational opportunity, and I hope we can repeat it in the future. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.” – Chailo
“Bigtree was sensational, from their lovely exterior to their breath-taking machines. They had a wonderful crew who were very welcoming and it was cool seeing how some of my favourite drinks are made.” Kapumpe
“Infratel was interesting and they gave us an outstanding presentation on their data center which taught us on how they protect us from various cyber attacks. Thanks to Mr. Zeko Mbumwae who gave a motivating speech and imparted knowledge on careers which would benefit us in the future.” – Emmanuel
“The number of systems I got to witness was incredible. When we talked about systems in class, I did not think much about the many sorts of systems that exist, but I got to see a large variety of those in action at Bigtree. I was blown away with the manufacturing sector, from the blow-molding machine to the packing department.” – Komana
“The speed with which all of the equipment worked was incredible. The idea that these machines can make 50,000 bottles in an hour was particularly amazing.” – Kukenga
“The trip to Bayport was my favourite since it gave me a chance to witness firsthand how internet banking works and how the computer science we learn today is being used more and more every day as a result of our incredible reliance on it. The future is digital, as they say.” – Lineo
Story by: Mapalo Mapani
Photos by: BST & ICT Depts