Almost every job will require at least some digital skills in future. The World Economic Forum estimates that more than half (54%) of all employees will require significant reskilling by 2022. Considering the current situation around the COVID-19 pandemic, these numbers will possibly increase due to a significant rise in the demand for digital tools and processes. At the same time, Millennials are the best-educated in history yet affected by high unemployment rates according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Especially in this post-pandemic world that lies ahead, the urgency to close the digital skills gap and support the youth becomes more evident and critical. Individuals and Organizations share the responsibility to take action in order to secure a bright digital future, full of opportunities. Following its purpose to help the world run better and improve people’s lives SAP continues to drive various initiatives to address solutions to pressing global issues such as the digital skills gap.

A global best practice to tackle local challenges and turn them into opportunities 

With 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touching an SAP system, SAP customers and partners need SAP-skilled talents, enabled on SAP’s latest innovations, to satisfy their hiring demand. Matching this demand, especially for certified SAP Consultants, with the abundance of talented but unemployed youth, the SAP Training and Development Institute creates a quadruple-win situation through its various training initiatives.

“Our digital skill build programs were created on the foundation of a highly unique collaborative effort. We work closely with SAP customers, partners, peers and other stakeholders such as government organizations to create a quadruple-win situation: local youth find a job, our SAP customers and partners find brilliant talent, SAP enhances its ecosystem, and countries benefit as we support digital skills build and hereby help to prepare the economy and society for an increasingly digital world”, said Marita Mitschein, Managing Director of the SAP Training & Development Institute and Senior Vice President Digital Skills at SAP South Europe, Africa and Middle East.

One of the initiatives offered by the institute is the SAP Young Professional Program: a 2-3 months long program which covers a unique enablement plan including SAP software functional/ technical knowledge and certification as well as soft and future skill trainings for selected unemployed or underemployed university graduates in the country where the program is offered. After successful completion, participants graduate from the program are Certified SAP Associate Consultants, ready to kickstart their careers at SAP customer and partner companies.

Since the launch of the Young Professional Program in 2013, the institute has empowered over 2990 program graduates across 28 countries and hereby developed a successful initiative that became a best practice for sustainable job creation globally. As a result, 99% of previously unemployed or underemployed university graduates found employment after graduation from the Young Professional Program. Across Africa, the SAP Young Professional Program is offered under the SAP Skills for Africa initiative.

Knowledge and skills must always be a priority, especially in times like these

“The ‘new reality’ further highlighted the necessity to accelerate digital skill build in an increasingly digital world. For us it was clear, that our digital skill build initiatives are more important than ever before, and we did not lose any time to ensure ongoing programs as well as upcoming programs will continue as planned”, said Marita Mitschein.

The very first SAP Young Professional Program in Algeria began in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: it started with the usual face to face sessions and was adapted into a virtual delivery model overnight in order to allow the students to complete their trainings without any disruption – from organizing virtual training sessions to helping trainers fly-out safely to their home countries despite sudden lockdowns.

The graduates of this cohort in Algeria have started their jobs with customers and partners, supporting their digital transformation agendas and driving change in this increasingly digital world. In addition to the program in Algeria, 13 cohorts of the Young Professional Program have started across 14 different countries since February in fully virtual format, enabling today’s youth to thrive and not only survive in these unprecedented times and beyond.