SA Youth Skills Capacity Receives Boost from Latest SAP Young Professionals Program Graduates

Press Release

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — June 13th, 2023 — South African organisations are benefiting from a welcome boost in digital transformation and cloud skills with the graduation of the latest cohort of candidates for the SAP Young Professionals Program.

Tracy Bolton, Chief Operating Officer at SAP Africa, says the graduates will play a vital role in supporting the digital transformation efforts of local organisations. “Organisations are in a race to adopt the latest technologies and enhance their operations, efficiency and innovation capabilities. However, access to appropriate cloud and digital transformation skills still elude many companies. Our latest group of graduates will provide a welcome boost to local efforts at digital transformation and support the broader SAP ecosystem.”

Organisations seek work-ready tech skills

South Africa is home to a vibrant, youthful population, but its potential is held back by a youth unemployment rate of over 60%. As the country celebrates Youth Month – held in June every year – public and private sector efforts are underway to equip the country’s youth with appropriate tech and soft skills.

One such effort is the SAP Young Professionals Program, an initiative across the EMEA South region offered by the Digital Skills Center of SAP that is aimed at enabling young talent to utilise the latest SAP technology and innovation to support digital transformation. The program has expanded its footprint following the introduction of an option to participate virtually, allowing talented candidates from a greater number of countries to participate.

Research by SAP Africa found that nearly four in five (78%) South African organisations had experienced some impact due to a lack of tech skills, with more than half saying the tech skills shortage had led to a lack of innovation in the organisation. Seventy percent of South African respondents also cited digital transformation as an in-demand skill in their organisations.

Tech expertise boosts employment prospects

The latest cohort of SAP Young Professionals Program graduates completed certificate courses in SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud implementation with SAP Activate and SAP Business Process Integration on SAP S/4HANA 2020. The program also places emphasis on the development of a range of soft skills, including design thinking and business model innovation, creative thinking, interpersonal skills, and interview skills.

“My experience with the SAP Young Professionals Program was amazing as I got equipped with a heightened sense of confidence in myself and for my future. I am now on a journey to greener pastures and it is all thanks to the program,” says Makwena Oltavia Moeti, a graduate from the latest cohort.

Candidates complete a two to three month training program that includes SAP software functional and technical knowledge with a focus on SAP’s latest innovations. The program targets top talent from local universities that are unemployed or underemployed and graduate from the program as SAP Associate Consultants, giving them a competitive edge in the job market.

In addition, the SAP Dual Study Program partners with top universities to provide students with opportunities to take major-specific SAP trainings and certification during academic years. This helps students bridge the gap between studies and the workplace, and ease their search for jobs within the SAP ecosystem. In South Africa, partner universities include the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, Nelson Mandela University, and the University of Pretoria.

“Africa has vast untapped potential for digital transformation that could add immense value to the continent’s economic growth,” says Bolton. “And with the world’s most youthful population and an expected population boom over the coming decades, the continent is ideally placed to provide the tech skills needed to drive the global economy.”

A new cohort of candidates from Southern Africa – Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa – will commence training in July. For more information about the SAP Young Professionals Program, please visit https://www.sap.com/mena/dsc