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Nedbank builds cloud computing talent pipeline with AWS

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Nedbank has joined forces with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide unemployed youth with free cloud computing skills development and job training through the AWS re/Start programme.

In a statement, Nedbank says AWS re/Start is a free, 12-week training programme, covering fundamental AWS Cloud and practical career skills.

Bianca Swartz, Nedbank cloud migration and transformation lead, told ITWeb in an interview that there are currently 15 learners in the programme.

She noted the bank plans to extend the programme over the next three years. Some of the learners will eventually be absorbed into Nedbank, while the others will be employed at the bank’s partners, Swartz said.

The companies already have a cloud computing partnership, as the bank continues to migrate its workloads to the AWS platform. However, Swartz noted Nedbank also makes use of Microsoft Azure services.

“Nedbank is in an incredible digital transformation journey and we are looking at embracing technologies, one of them being cloud computing, to disrupt the way we provide services. We have aspirations to become the first in digital.

“To progress with our digital transformation journey, we have realised there is a severe deficiency of cloud computing skills within the South African market as well as globally.”

She pointed out that according to a recent survey conducted by Deloitte in SA, 92% of the respondents said their current talent pool does not meet their digital aspirations.

“So that’s a scary statistic. While we are rapidly accelerating our digital transformation journey, we identified the need to build our own cloud computing skills pipeline. Further to that, we also recognised that to boost South Africa in its digital economy, there is a need for us to heed the call to action and build the talent pipeline for the industry and for South Africa.”

Through scenario-based exercises, hands-on labs and coursework, individuals build Linux, Python, networking, security and relational database skills.

The bank notes the programme also focuses on ensuring individuals develop professional skills such as adaptive communication, time management and resume building, as well as preparing them for employer meetings and interviews.

The initiative is part of AWS’s larger commitment to train 29 million learners free of charge by 2025.

Learners were selected from the 2021 Nedbank Youth Employment Service (YES) programme.

YES stemmed from the CEO Initiative, launched by president Cyril Ramaphosa in March 2018, in a collective effort to address the youth unemployment crisis.

According to Nedbank, no prior technical or digital experience is required from prospective learners.

With this programme, Nedbank is working with AWS re/Start to help learners gain job-specific skills, connect them with employers and support them as they embark on cloud careers.

“These skills are especially needed in a world where technology expertise is falling short of the requirements as we move into a world in which the way of work will change forever, spurred on by the coronavirus pandemic that has decimated lives and economies across the world,” commented Swartz.

According to a recent survey − conducted by Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud, Hosting & Managed Services, Organisational Dynamics 2020, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence − 85% of organisations reported deficits in cloud expertise.

Managers expecting to hire their way out of skills problems face a shallow candidate pool, the bank says.

Swartz added: “Nedbank’s purpose is to use its financial expertise to do good for individuals, families, businesses and society. Together with AWS re/Start, we are building an inclusive, diverse global pipeline of new cloud talent by engaging unemployed youth with no prior technical skills or qualifications who otherwise might not have had access to this career path.”

The programme covers the cost for learners to take the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam, validating their cloud skills with an industry-recognised credential.

Ultimately, Nedbank notes, AWS re/Start helps individuals prepare for roles in operations, site reliability and infrastructure support.

Tejas Vashi, AWS re/Start global team lead, says: “AWS re/Start is more than just a training programme; it is a change-your-life initiative that helps individuals launch successful careers in the cloud. We are proud to work with Nedbank to equip the unemployed youth with the in-demand cloud skills that will help organisations accelerate their innovation with the AWS Cloud.”

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