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Microsoft fights local skills shortage

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HP may have pacified government's BEE equity requirements with its Business Institute, but other IT organisations like Microsoft have long had similar projects – with the software giant already training up and finding employment for 1 000 students this year alone.

And, says Microsoft SA MD, Pfungwa Serima, it aims to take this number to 10 000 by 2010.
In an interview at Microsoft's Partner Summit at Sun City on Friday, Serima said that while many companies have adopted training programmes for students, many of them often don't produce the desired result – employment and alleviating the local skills shortage.
"We, like a lot of other organisations, have invested in training students [over the years]," he says. "But often the problem is that there has never been training with a purpose. It's conducted in isolation … in a vacuum."
Serima says Microsoft changed this with the launch of its Student to Business Connection skills development programme in January this year.
"The programme adds more purpose to our training," Serima says. "We have gone into strong partnerships with government – in particular the deputy-president's office, ISETT SETA, our partners and our customers. We'll champion the programme, provide the curricula and train students over a period, but we'd like to see the commitment of our partners and customers in terms of giving the students jobs once they've completed the programme.
"Since January, 1 000 students have completed the programme – and all of them are employed today," he says. "And our aspiration is to train and find jobs for 3 000 students by the end of this year, growing this number to 10 000 by 2010."