SAP Continues to Empower Youth Across South Africa with Work-ready Digital Skills by Expanding its Skills for Africa Initiative

New-look partnership with academic institutions set to fast-track graduate entry to 4IR careers

SAP has announced the launch of its first Dual Study Program on South African soil. In partnership with leading universities, the SAP Dual Study Program provides university students with training and certifications linked to SAP’s latest innovations that align to the company’s Intelligent Enterprise model. The Dual Study Program runs in 12 countries globally at 23 partnering universities and is offered under the SAP Skills for Africa initiative across Africa.

According to Marita Mitschein, Senior Vice President of Digital Skills: EMEA South and Managing Director: SAP Training & Development Institute, the Dual Study Program will give South African students a welcome boost to accelerate their early careers. “Through a combination of university theoretical studies with the opportunity for students to take SAP certification during academic years under the collaborative curriculum, we help students to bridge the gap between university and workplace by giving them a competitive edge. With a pervasive digital skills shortage affecting the growth and innovation potential of even the most successful global organisations, the Dual Study Program offers the opportunity to fill some of the immediate need for access to scarce digital skills using market-leading SAP technologies.”

The first South African university partner for the SAP Dual Study Program is the University of Cape Town (UCT). Professor Lisa Seymour at UCT, said: “Being ranked as the top African university and one of the top 20% of universities worldwide, UCT and our School of IT prides itself in producing knowledgeable, innovative and work-ready graduates that can make a positive impact in the businesses and communities in which they work. The support of our private sector partners such as SAP through its Dual Study Program goes a long way towards ensuring we produce the talented young people that will shape the future of our country and our continent.”

A group of 48 students will form part of the first SAP Dual Study Program at UCT and will start their journey to become SAP Certified Associate Consultants in SAP Cloud Platform and Web Intelligence in November.

SAP Skills for Africa is aimed at developing ICT skills among African youth as part of SAP’s global commitment to promoting education and entrepreneurship, in line with SAP’s support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Two programs, the SAP Dual Study Program (DSP) and the SAP Young Professional Program (YPP) are offered under the auspices of the Skills for Africa initiative, and are designed to build digital skills capacity and support the broader SAP ecosystem within key African markets.

 

Twenty-five new graduates ready to apply digital skills

Building on the previous success of the SAP Young Professional Program in South Africa, SAP also graduated a group of 25 young tech talents in Johannesburg today.

According to Cathy Smith, Managing Director at SAP Africa, organisations across Africa are making good progress with preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but access to relevant and work-ready digital skills remain a challenge. “Nearly two-thirds of global organisations admit to lacking the digital skills they need to succeed. SAP Skills for Africa is designed to give our public and private sector partners access to work-ready talent that can drive digital transformation within their organisations. At the same time, this initiative supports young umemployed or underemployed talents to kickstart their careers and find meaningful work.”

To date, more than 385 unemployed or underemployed South African youth – and more than 990 across Africa – have graduated from the SAP Young Professional Program as SAP Associate Consultants. Through SAP’s close partnership with its customers and industry partners, over 99% of all program graduates secure work placement upon graduation.

Graduates that form part of the Young Professional Program undergo a rigorous selection process before embarking on a three-month full-time training program designed to equip young professionals with skills in the latest SAP technologies – including two formal global SAP certifications – as well as soft skills needed to succeed in the modern workplace. This makes every graduate of the program immediately employable in a range of public and private sector companies.

Rosette Simerone, who formed part of the latest group of graduates, said the program provided a helpful induction to the SAP and soft skills she and the other program graduates need to succeed. “This program not only helped me professionally but in so many facets of my life. I can truly say that I am ready to conquer the corporate world because I am well equipped and skilled. I look forward to applying my new skills and to building a successful career in the African digital economy.”

Smith adds that there is great urgency in equipping more African youth with digital skills. “By next year, more than 40 million high-skilled workers will be needed globally. Considering that youth account for 60% of Africa’s unemployed, and that the continent has the largest and fastest-growing youth population in the world, it is imperative that we equip our young talent with the skills they need to be active participants in the global economy. Through Skills for Africa and a range of other skills initiatives, including the upcoming Africa Code Week, SAP aims to make a positive contribution to Africa’s long-term socio-economic success.”