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SAP extends African job creation drive

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SAP Africa has announced the details of the latest chapter in the company’s SAP Skills for Africa job creation initiative. SAP Skills for Africa is an integral part of SAP Africa’s commitment to train 10 000 ICT consultants across the continent by 2020.

The South African programme represents collaboration between SAP Africa and local SAP customers and partners, including Accenture, ATOS, BMW, Consnet, T-Systems, Tata Consulting Services, Britehouse, Gauteng Provincial Government, MICT SETA and Multichoice, all of whom share a unified mission to promote economic growth and sustainable job creation. The launch of the South African chapter will also see SAP Africa employees volunteering to mentor all the students.

“The importance of partnering with the private sector for such an initiative strategically supports public sector efforts in South Africa. There is a key transformative role that effective technology plays as it ensures better collaboration, alongside ongoing investment in the development of local youth,” says Benjamin Ngidi, chief director: resources at Gauteng Provincial Government.

Seventy-five talented young South Africans from across the country constitute the first South African SAP Skills for Africa class. They come from a list of 1 000 applicants that were subjected to rigorous testing and interviewing procedures that resulted in a shortlist of 150 that was finally winnowed down to 75. On successful completion of their studies, each student will go on to internships with the SAP partners and customers involved in the initiative.

“As a technology-focused organisation, it is critical that we continue to invest locally in developing a specific set of skills to ensure we remain competitive not only as a company, but as a country. This type of partnership with SAP is mutually beneficial in that it provides us with a platform to hone and develop world-class talent,” says Siphiwe Zwane, Multichoice SAP Centre of Excellence functional teams manager.

Under the SAP Skills for Africa banner, over the last two years SAP has successfully implemented the SAP Scholarship Program that has seen unemployed graduates in several African countries trained and certified in SAP-internationally-recognised certification. This has also translated into internships with SAP partners and customers.

Building on this momentum, in partnership with the Maharishi Institute – for the South African SAP Skills for Africa chapter – also announced a co-sponsored SAP Dual Study Program, as part of the SAP Skills for Africa offering. In collaboration with universities across the continent, the SAP Dual Study program allows high-calibre university students to obtain SAP functional or technical certification during their final two years of studying towards a Bachelor’s degree. This allows them to leave university with both academic and industry-relevant qualifications. Having graduated, support is also provided to students to find attachments in the SAP ecosystem. Today’s development sees bursaries going to 20 Maharishi students in 2015 and an additional 20 students will also receive bursaries next year.

“We are proud to once again be partnering with SAP Africa to drive forward the skills and job creation agenda in South Africa. The SAP Skills for Africa programme now enriched by the SAP Dual Study program represents the next era in training relevant ICT skills to proactively address current and future skills requirements in this country,” says Dr Taddy Blecher, CEO of the Maharishi Institute.

The first chapter of the SAP Skills for Africa initiative was launched by SAP Africa and the Kenyan government in 2013. Since then, the effort has also gained significant momentum in Morocco and now in South Africa. Other SAP focus countries are being considered for 2016.

“With poor economic growth and a scarcity of ICT and business skills, the creation of sustainable jobs in South Africa is top of mind for many. SAP Africa recognises that skills development with a view to concrete job creation is one of the best ways to deal not only with skills shortages facing the technology industry, but also help address South Africa’s chronic youth unemployment issue,” says Pfungwa Serima, executive chairman of SAP Africa. “SAP is committed to driving business right across Africa, with the ultimate objective of improving people’s lives through the deployment of innovative industry-specific software solutions. This is not possible without developing the right skills and creating the right jobs in the communities in which we do business.

“The fact that every one of the students from the SAP Skills for Africa class have guaranteed internships – provided they complete their studies successfully – is testament to the power of the SAP partner ecosystem. I applaud our local partners and customers for their commitment and passion in paving the way for real career opportunities for dedicated young South African IT professionals,” he adds.

The SAP Skills for Africa Scholarship Program training takes place over a period of 10 weeks and comprises a hybrid approach of classroom and e-learning that is fully-sponsored by SAP with no cost to the students. The course focuses on internationally recognised IT and business skills. The South African launch of the SAP Skills for Africa initiative today follows the successful Kenyan graduating classes of 2013 and 2014, and the graduation last week of the first Skills for Africa class in Morocco.