Young professionals finish digital skills training despite Covid-19

CELEBRATING the rollout of digital skills in West Africa, SAP Africa has welcomed the graduation of 27 young professionals who recently completed their training as part of the SAP Young Professional Programme.

The 27 graduates from Ghana and Nigeria, join another group of graduates from Nigeria who completed their training earlier this month.

The SAP Young Professional Programme is a digital skill build initiative under the umbrella of SAP Skills for Africa.

According to Marita Mitschein, Senior Vice President Digital Skills Southern Europe, Middle East & Africa SAP and MD at the SAP Training and Development Institute, this year’s graduates had to cope with a disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic which forced a change in the format of the programme.

Mitschein noted: ‘With countries across the continent in lockdown for much of this year, we had to adapt to a fully virtual delivery model. The new reality brought by the coronavirus has further highlighted the urgent need to accelerate digital skills development, especially as the world of work becomes increasingly digital.

‘We are grateful to this year’s graduates for taking on the challenge and making a success of their training despite the challenging conditions.’

Employing digital skills

Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Education in Ghana, said: ‘The Covid-19 crisis has plunged the whole world into uncharted waters and transformed the way businesses and organisations operate, communicate and transfer knowledge. What this means is that we must leapfrog our efforts at employing digital skills to meet our needs and aspirations. Partnerships and collaborations are essential in this.’

Both groups of recent graduates are part of a collaboration between SAP and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH with the aim to jointly create 450 jobs for highly-qualified personnel in the IT sector in ten African countries over the course of three years.

The co-operation project is part of the special initiative ‘Training and Job Creation’ and the develoPPP.de programme that GIZ implements on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Pedro Guerreiro, MD for Central Africa at SAP, stated that individuals and organisations share the responsibility for securing a bright digital future for the continent. ‘There is great urgency to close the digital skills gap and support our youth, especially in light of this year’s events and the uncertain time that lies ahead,’ Guerreiro said.

The SAP Young Professional Programme is a three-month training and development opportunity for university graduates that teaches technical and functional knowledge of key SAP technologies, paired with soft and future skills and is offered under the Skills for Africa initiative across Africa. Young professionals graduate as SAP Associate Consultants and, through close partnerships between the company and its customers and partners, are placed in roles where their skills can make an impact.

According to data by the World Bank, more than 230 million jobs in Africa will require digital skills by 2030.

The continent is also the world’s most youthful region, with more than 60 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s population under the age of 25.

However, despite the immense opportunities, many youths are still affected by high unemployment rates, adding urgency to the establishment of sustainable digital skills development programmes such as the SAP Young Professional Program that can equip the continent’s youth with work-ready skills.

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