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AWS Skills Centre sees demand for free cloud training

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 01 Nov 2023
The AWS Skills Centre in the Western Cape.
The AWS Skills Centre in the Western Cape.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is seeing huge demand for cloud training courses at its Western Cape-based Skills Centre, as more people sign up for the virtual and in-person training programmes.

The skills development facility, launched in August, is focused on up-skilling participants young and old, to combat unemployment and the digital skills gap in SA.

It forms part of the cloud computing giant’s efforts to bridge the technical skills gap through existing AWS-designed programmes, to help individuals earn AWS Certification.

This comes as the company continues to expand its cloud regions across the globe.

Skills offered include computer foundations, cyber security, data cloud storage and becoming a cloud practitioner (foundational-level certification).

The centre also offers a cloud for business owners course, targeted at start-ups and small business owners.

Tiara Pathon, AWS Skills Centre site leader, says: “We started training on 22 August and trained under 1 000 learners in classroom and virtually. In September, we trained more than double this amount. Hopefully this trend continues.

“AWS Skills Centre in Cape Town is part of a larger commitment to train 29 million people globally in cloud computing. The cloud is one of the most transformative technological changes of our generation and our mandate is to make training accessible for young and old learners curious about the cloud and wanting to pursue a career in technology.”

Pathon tells ITWeb that classes often consist of more in-person attendees than virtually. Participants attending virtually join from the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, including Ghana, Morocco, Delhi, Singapore, Mozambique and Kenya.

Tiara Pathon, AWS Skills Centre site leader.
Tiara Pathon, AWS Skills Centre site leader.

SA’s joblessness has escalated at alarming rates in recent years, and youth remain vulnerable in the labour market. The official unemployment rate was 32.9%, as at the first quarter of 2023, according to Statistics South Africa, with unemployed youth (15-34 years) at 46.5%.

The centre is the third that AWS has built, and the first outside of the US. AWS says it has trained more than 100 000 people in SA on cloud skills since 2017. This figure includes free and paid training.

According to Pathon, AWS is exploring partnerships with non-profit workforce accelerators focused on supporting learners with technology skills.

It also plans to set up career fairs with its ecosystem partners and customers from 2024, in efforts to explore employment opportunities for participants who complete the programmes.

“We will work with partners like The Collective X, Harambee, Afrika Tukken and others who source entry-level roles for our trained learners, or are developing digital skills apprenticeship programmes,” Pathon points out.

“We will be helping to close the cloud skills gap by up-skilling and reskilling anyone who registers for our classes. We go one step further to, in addition to training, set up days like the Cloud Exploration Day, where learners can learn about job opportunities in the cloud and how to build a cloud career, also learning from experts about their career journeys.”

The centre is open to day visitors and offers a “cloud discovery space” which includes eight immersive exhibits that showcase how the cloud supports space exploration, gaming, machine learning and cyber security.

View the centre and register for classes here.