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ICT skills create jobs and change lives

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The latest SAP Skills for Africa South Africa chapter kicked off yesterday with the Johannesburg leg of the student orientation that prefaces the actual training that started today (29 September).
SAP Skills for Africa is a skills development and job creation initiative launched by SAP Africa in 2015.
Since inception, the initiative has grown to maturity across Africa with growing numbers of graduates SAP customers and partners. Involved partners and customers all share the same mission: promoting economic growth and developing substantive ICT skills that change lives in a sustainable manner.
Johannesburg partners who will take the successful graduates into internships post completion of this leg of the training include EOH, Accenture, Eskom, Zimele Technologies, T-Systems, Britehouse, Bosch, Clariba Solutions, Cosnet, Cornastone and MICT SETA.
Technology talent has always been in short supply, but as Africa increasingly becomes digitised, that lack is now a clear inhibitor to growth and the root of a vicious cycle: technology industries don’t have access to enough skills; they fail to meet customer demands; the market shrinks and what talent there is looks for greener pastures. Since demand for IT skills is a worldwide phenomenon, the IT skills brain drain is a reality that is significantly impairing Africa economies.
“Skills development with specific job creation in mind is not a simple challenge to overcome”, commented Lawrence Kandaswami, Managing Director for SAP South Africa: “In a developing economy such as South Africa’s, digital education is not yet accessible for all. What SAP sees is a vast gap between the education that young people are receiving and what the employment market needs and this is where SAP Skills for Africa is increasingly making its unique value-proposition known.”
The new Johannesburg chapter represents the biggest graduate intake to date with 100 graduates embarking upon the SAP Skills for Africa ICT and soft skills training.
“The problem is not a shortage of jobs, but a lack of skills,” agreed Ebrahim Laher, Managing Director at EOH SAP. “Local skills pools define how competitive and effective a market is, so supporting SAP Skills for Africa is not about being a ‘nice’ company; it is to secure our future prosperity. As such there is no compromise on the quality of student outcomes – and EOH is very pleased with what SAP Skills for Africa delivers.”
Shubna Harilal, Acting VP Systems Integration at T-Systems said, “T-Systems’ customers stake their futures on technology investments paying off. That requires a healthy market, defined by the talent available. South Africa has no shortage of talent, but those need to be converted to reliable skills. I’m happy to say SAP Skills for Africa delivers on that challenge.”
Using a hybrid approach of classroom and e-learning training, with hands-on simulated exercises, the three month programme will afford the participants the opportunity to develop world-class IT skills. The training will comprise seven classes and modules and SAP flagship in-memory technology, SAP S/4HANA, will be introduced as part of the training for the first time.
The course also incorporates essential business and soft skills training, with a formal SAP Academy accreditation resulting in internationally recognised associate SAP consultant certification. The programme is fully-sponsored with no cost to qualifying university graduates.
Key financial contributor since 2012 MICT SETA, through their skills levy programme, has enabled the SAP Skills for Africa initiative to grow in leaps and bounds as both public and private sector organisations support the need for specialised skills development.
“There is no doubt that we are in the midst of a major technology evolution and organisations across all sectors are going through a significant transformation,” said Setjhaba Molloyi, Accenture South African Delivery Centre Managing Director. “These organisations want to transform their businesses and the markets they serve. They also want to improve their operational efficiencies, implement advanced capabilities and transform their legacy systems to the new IT. “I’m pleased to collaborate with SAP again on the Skills for Africa initiative as through our various programmes, we’ll be able to impart these learners with the right skills which will enable them to actively participate in the economy. The initiative creates skilled-graduates of the highest quality, which means we can continue to offer our customers the highest levels of skilled services.”
Kandaswami applauded local partners and customers for their commitment and passion in paving the way for real career opportunities for dedicated young South African IT professionals: “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.”
“Demand for technology skills reaches beyond the confines of the ICT industry. As such the SAP Skills for Africa initiative also has support from partners in other sectors, such as Eskom,” concluded Sean Maritz CIO and Group Executive at Eskom. “Partnerships with the private sector are becoming increasingly important for enablement and development of core skills and resources across a multitude of industries. We have everything to gain through these vital partnerships with initiatives such as Skills for Africa.”