Microsoft Corp. revealed that it has assisted over 30 million people in 249 countries and territories, including nearly 300,000 South Africans, in gaining access to digital skills, surpassing its initial target of 25 million people set in June.
As a result, in 2021, the organization will expand its dedication by launching new tools to assist job seekers and 250,000 businesses in making a skills-based recruit.
“Expanding access to these learning paths, skills, and resources comes at a crucial time for South Africa, as the country’s economy continues to deteriorate and unemployment is a growing and widespread problem,” says Lillian Barnard, Managing Director of Microsoft South Africa.
“This highlights the vital need to hasten economic recovery, especially for those who have been hardest hit by the pandemic’s effects. Because of the growing transition to digital technology and increased demand for people with digital skills, Barnard believes that digital skills are the most successful way to accelerate this recovery.
The success of Microsoft’s Global Skills Initiative, especially in South Africa, attests to the importance of digital skills. In addition to the nearly 300 000 engaged learners met, the initiative’s strategic collaborations with non-profits like Afrika Tikkun have yielded results: in October of last year, Microsoft South Africa awarded the youth development NPO a grant of $150 000.
This was used to broaden the program’s appeal to more South Africans by attracting job seekers into the Global Skills Initiative; assessing job seekers to decide the best learning route for them, as well as encouraging and incentivizing them to participate in and complete at least one learning pathway; enrolling and assisting job seekers in obtaining formal certification; and locating work experience, job placement, and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Microsoft joined forces with its nonprofit partners to offer wrap-around assistance to approximately 6 million learners through coaching, mentoring, and networking as part of the initiative.
Microsoft plans to put these lessons into practice more widely, unveiling Career Connector, a new online service that will provide 50,000 job seekers with the ability to find a tech-enabled job within the next three years.
It will concentrate on learners who have acquired skills through Microsoft’s nonprofit and learning partners, with a special emphasis on women and underrepresented minorities in technology.
“Reimagining how people learn and apply new skills that will prepare them for the workplace of the future is becoming increasingly important and it is a priority for Microsoft to build opportunities that will encourage and empower unemployed South Africans by providing them with the necessary digital skills required to secure future-ready jobs,” says Barnard.
Individuals interested in learning more about these essential digital skills should visit the Microsoft microsite. The resources for the Global Skills Initiative is available here.
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