Digital Skills and entrepreneurship initiatives boosting in South Africa
The city of Johannesburg, South Africa, reached an agreement with Microsoft to train one million disadvantaged residents on digital literacy skills. For a five year period, the free training will be offered to participants at public libraries that are already part of the Vulindlel’eJozi Youth Program’s Massive Open Online Varsity network that provides students with skills to gain better employment opportunities.
It is intended that 80% of the program’s beneficiaries be young residents between 18 and 34 years old. The skills learned will support them to respond to the job market demand thus generating at the same time relevant economic benefits for the city as a whole. Additional skills will be taught to provide a wider perspective to the students, including entry-level job matching, vocational and entrepreneurial skills development.
According to Zaib Hoosen, Microsoft South Africa’s Manager Director, who quoted a recent International Data Corporation study stating that more than 50% of today’s entry-level jobs require proficiency with digital technology, and that this is expected to expand to 77% by 2022 – adding that South Africa is following international trends in this regard. In addition, he added that “This partnership and the impact of what we do here today will enable us to better empower the workforce of the future. A workforce that is diverse, boasting a youth culture that utilizes their digital literacy to create a thriving city of entrepreneurs and highly skilled workers.”
It is relevant to mention that the program is unique not only because of the significant amount of beneficiaries, but also because of its private-public collaboration scheme. Registration will take place on the Vulindlel’eJozi site from September 1, 2016.
At the same time, Gauteng’s Department of e-Government in South Africa has partnered with Step Up 2A Start Up program to provide ICT skills and develop young entrepreneurs for the province. The initiative teaches high school learners from 10 to 12 grades relevant skills related to 3D printing, video game design and methods for using ICT to enhance individual projects. This program is also intended to enhance youth’s opportunities to obtain better employment and innovate in the ICT field.