As part of its Global Skills Initiative,Microsoft South Africa has provided Afrika Tikkun with a $150,000 (over R2.5m) grant. The initiative aims to bring new digital skills to underserved populations and reskill workers impacted by Covid-19 .
The ultimate goal of the initiative is to pass on critical digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of the year.So far the initiative has reached 10 million engaged learners in 231 countries. “Partnering to bring together resources that reimagine how people learn and apply new skills to prepare for the workplace of the future, as well as create opportunities to equip unemployed South Africans with much-needed digital skills is a priority for Microsoft,” sais Siya Madyibi, Legal and Corporate Affairs Director at Microsoft South Africa.
Unemployment is a widespread challenge in South Africa, hitting 30.1% in the first quarter of 2020 and steadily rising because of the impact of the pandemic. According to Onyinye Nwaneri, CEO at Afrika Tikkun Services, “Hardest hit has been young people, particularly in poorer and more remote areas,” he said.
The grant will enable Afrika Tikkun to focus on:
Recruiting jobseekers to be reskilled and positioned to access opportunities in the job economy.
Assessing recruited jobseekers, identifying and implementing the most appropriate learning pathways to follow based on their existing skillset and the most in-demand skills and jobs in South Africa identified through data and analytics.
Providing free access to curated learning pathways for in-demand roles within the economy across LinkedIn Learning, GitHub and Microsoft Learn.
Supporting and incentivising as many job seekers as possible to achieve certifications by completing various exams offered on digital platforms.
Sourcing work experience and job placement opportunities and providing employability tools and connections to jobs offered, including connections to work-based learning, coaching and mentoring.
Providing post-placement support through the organisation’s alumni network between September 2020 and 31 March 2021.
Afrika Tikkun helps young people from underserved South African communities through their holistic cradle-to-career model which includes skills development and work readiness programmes.They also address nutrition, health and social needs.
The non-profit organization aims to recruit 50,000 jobseekers into the Global Skills Initiative programme; assess 14,500 to determine the best learning pathway for them and support and incentivise them to access and complete at least one learning pathway while enabling the remaining job seekers to benefit from selecting and following their learning pathways on their own.
Further more,the organization also committed to enrol 1,000 for formal certification and help 500 get formally certified; assist 500 land a job, work experience or economic opportunity and help 50 become entrepreneurs.
“Unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, is too significant of a challenge for anyone organisation to tackle in isolation. It requires a collective effort from civil society, corporates and government, and this integrated Global Skills Initiative provides the scope and leverage to make a difference.Afrika Tikkun is already committed to integrating such stakeholders to optimise outcomes impacting youth employment,” said Marc Lubner, Group CEO.
Microsoft is also partnering with corporate companies and customers who have committed to making training labs with connectivity available to jobseekers, co-fund some Microsoft certifications and market the programme on their social media channels to raise awareness.
Unemployed individuals interested in accessing critical digital skills can register for the programme on Afrika Tikkun’s website or learn more on the Microsoft microsite.