Cape Town ‘Skills for Africa’ students graduate with digital workforce confidence

CAPE TOWN, South Africa —  SAP Skills for Africa officially bid farewell to 44 Cape Town students at today’s graduation ceremony after completing an intense digital and business soft skills training programme as part of SAP Africa’s job creation initiative. The programme involved a number of SAP customers and partners including; the City of Cape Town, Pick n Pay, Consnet, Shoprite, Accenture, UCS and Zimele Technologies. The partners, who all share the same vision of providing sustainable jobs to alleviate Africa’s unemployment crisis, equipped the students with practical digital skills training and fulltime employment.

SAP Skills for Africa graduates equipped with practical digital skills training and employment.

The graduation event took place at the Cape Town Civic Centre where guest of honour, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member, Councillor Xanthea Limberg, welcomed SAP Skills for Africa graduates, family members and programme partners and sponsors, as they witnessed the initiative’s first group of Western Cape students graduate.

This chapter of the SAP Skills for Africa programme took place in Cape Town and entailed a 12 week ICT and business skills course. In response to feedback from the SAP customers involved, the students were introduced to the SAP Industry Solutions: Retail and Utilities as part of their training. The SAP Skills for Africa course also incorporated essential business and soft skills training as well an introduction to SAP HANA – SAP’s in-memory data platform that is deployable as an on-premise appliance or in the cloud. All the training culminated in both SAP Academy accreditation and internationally recognized associate SAP consultant certification. The programme is fully-sponsored with no cost to the students.

For the first time, the SAP Skills for Africa students were also trained students in the MIT Scratch software coding methodology to enable them to act as trainers for another SAP skills development initiative, Africa Code Week, the largest literacy coding event on the African continent later this year. Launched in 2015 with over 89,000 youngsters trained in coding across 17 African countries, this year’s series of events will see more than 150,000 youth across 30 African countries targeted and will commence in October.

Councillor Limberg added, “It is paramount that we prepare our students not only for the challenges they will face in their careers, but also to adapt to the constantly shifting demands of an ever-changing digital economy. That’s why the City of Cape Town and SAP Skills for Africa strive to create ‘master learners’ who possess critical thinking skills and breadth of knowledge that comes from understanding not only how to perform a digital work task, but the reasoning behind it. Cape Town is committed to empowering our youth with technical skills and we are incredibly pleased to provide employment to 15 graduates with highly sought after technical qualifications.”

At the end of the programme students were invited to take part in a Design Thinking workshop held at the Hasso Plattner Design School in Cape Town. The workshop talked the students through tools and techniques to unlock market-relevant leadership skills.  In partnership with the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking at  the University of Cape Town, a creative workshop will be included in the next chapters of the SAP Skills for Africa with the goal of teaching the students how to combine their newly acquired ICT skills with design and problem-solving qualities.

Willem Lotter, Dean of Faculty of Business & Management Sciences at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology commented, “The SAP Skills for Africa graduate programme has been a resounding success and continues to grow in attendance and popularity across the country. We are extremely privileged to have played a leading role by hosting two classes at our premises. The students have worked extremely hard and we are proud to see that this year’s programme enjoyed a 100% pass rate and a number of distinctions. We look forward to creating even bigger impact at next year’s event as we positively empower youth with digital skills needed for today’s competitive workforce while addressing the country’s unemployment issue”.

“Pick n Pay who employs nine of the 44 graduates was one of the first companies in South Africa to make a strong commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility. This is one of the pillars on which the company philosophy was founded. The SAP Skills for Africa partnership is just one of the many ways we are tackling the nation’s unemployment crisis, by training students to provide for their own while aspiring to better themselves and to contribute to their communities. We support the programme because the high level of skills acquired by the graduates equips them for meaningful careers.” said Richard van Rensburg, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Pick n Pay.

Deena Pillay, Chief Financial Officer at SAP Africa concluded that it is vital for educational initiatives to link skills development to job creation through company internships. “With more than 75 million young people currently unemployed across the globe, it is critical that SAP Skills for Africa collaborates with Western Cape businesses and government to develop our youth’s digital skills and support sustainable job development. No student should leave school without basic digital literacy. The ability to effectively use digital tools is now a necessary life skill to ensure relevance in the job market and SAP Skills for Africa contributes towards helping plug this short-and medium-term skills gap and ultimately conquer the gaping digital divide in Africa”.

For more information visit the SAP Africa New Center or follow SAP on Twitter @sapafrica

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