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Microsoft partners with SAtion to upskill SA youth

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Adam Craker, CEO of IQbusiness.
Adam Craker, CEO of IQbusiness.

Microsoft has collaborated with digital skills development firm SAtion to create a youth-focused digital skills hub to alleviate unemployment and bolster connectivity in SA.

This as the latest Stats SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey shows record-high unemployment figures in SA, with 74.7% of youth (aged 15-24) in SA being unemployed.

The partnership’s online platform − the SAtion Digital Skills Hub − will invest in the country’s socio-economic progress by providing young South Africans from the ages of eight to 24 free access to Microsoft Office 365, free digital literacy resources and Microsoft Cloud Society resources.

Launched on 14 June, SAtion seeks to draw together stakeholders in the private and public sectors − including government, large corporations, SMMEs, industrialists, private investors and educational institutions − to discuss, co-ordinate and implement fourth industrial revolution projects.

In this way, the initiative will ensure public decision-makers and private sector entities are working together towards swift and sustainable economic growth in a 21st century context, rather than working against each other, according to the organisation.

“President Ramaphosa’s conviction that SA’s youth will be at the centre of our economic recovery has never been more true – and the stakes have never been higher,” says Adam Craker, CEO of IQbusiness and enabling partner to SAtion.

“Our determination to secure a competitive digital future for our youth and the unemployed has driven us to conclude this momentous partnership.”

The digital skills hub, according to the companies, will host three initiatives − the Global Skills Initiative, Mahala and Cloud Society − each offering different opportunities for the youth, the unemployed, SMMEs, all South Africans and government officials to acquire digital skills. In this way, South Africans will be enabled to operate more effectively and competitively in the digital world.

“The digital economy creates the ideal opportunity for job creation,” says Lillian Barnard, CEO of Microsoft South Africa.

“It also spurs innovation, boosts economic growth and supports long-term competitiveness. However, building the digital skills necessary to meet the changing landscape cannot be delivered by a single entity. Partnerships are essential for accelerating digital transformation and, more importantly, unlocking vital upskilling and reskilling initiatives.”

Last year, Microsoft announced the Global Skills Initiative, a programme which the tech giant says has already empowered more than 30 million people around the world with digital skills for the digital economy.

In SA, through the digital skills hub, the initiative will enable a minimum of 50 000 unemployed and disadvantaged people to acquire digital skills and certification for in-demand jobs in, for example, customer services, IT support, software development and graphic design.

South Africans wishing to begin their digital upskilling journey with SAtion and Microsoft can visit the digital skills hub Web site to register for the programme that best meets their needs.

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