Broadband Infraco, Google partner in rural area 4IR drive

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State-owned entity (SOE) Broadband Infraco and Google have partnered to provide learners and teachers in remote rural areas with the necessary skills to prepare for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).

Broadband Infraco was appointed lead agency in government’s implementation of its SA Connect project that aims to provide connectivity to government facilities in rural areas across SA.

In a statement today, the SOE says to further enhance the connectivity provided to date, it  has partnered with Google to provide training content under the Internet search giant's Digital Skills Programme, Grow with Google, to offer additional skills training.

It notes this training will be offered to learners and teachers outside of the school curriculum.

“Having experienced the roll-out of infrastructure and Internet; and noticing the lack of adoption of the connectivity being provided to some of the schools due to a gap in digital skills, we sought the partnership with Google as a supplement and enhancement to the infrastructure provision,” says Phumza Dyani, Broadband Infraco’s chief marketing and sales officer.

“We believe that it is through such collaborative efforts that South Africa can harness the opportunity to use digital platforms to achieve part of the country’s priorities. Digital skills are key to enabling the successful adoption of 4IR. That is why it was crucial for us to supplement technology with skills transfer. That is powerful to ensuring that when connectivity is implemented, people are empowered with capability for unlocking its power,” Dyani says.

“We have been working to help empower people across Africa with digital skills. We have trained over three million people so far as part of our contribution to growing the digital economy,” says Google’s Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda.

“With an expected half a billion Internet users by 2020, there are huge opportunities for the next-generation African businesses and digital entrepreneurs. If our youth have the right skills, they are prepared for future jobs, can build businesses, create jobs and boost economic growth across the continent.

“We aim to equip millions of South Africans with digital skills and tools to help them build an online presence, create content, understand Web design and user experience, social media and app development.”

Provided in various district municipalities, these free training courses, tools and in-person coaching, through Google’s Digital Skills for Africa and Developer Programmes, are designed to help students, job-seekers and/or young entrepreneurs acquire the right skills to find a job, advance their careers or start/grow their own businesses, the organisations say.

Google has introduced various skills development programmes and to date has trained more than 3.6 million students across the African continent.

It says the global economy and society is undergoing a digital transformation which offers enormous opportunities for growth, innovation and jobs.

Broadband Infraco and Google say they aim to help people embrace this shift and the new opportunities it brings, by providing them with the right infrastructure connectivity and skills for their personal and professional growth.

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