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Thousands to learn critical digital skills as Nemisa, Coursera partner

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In an effort to cushion the jobs and economic blow caused by the pandemic, two organisations focused on upskilling have come together for a job-relevant learning initiative.

Today, on the back of the release of the 2021 Global Skills Report, the National Electronic Media Institute in South Africa (Nemisa) and online learning platform Coursera announced their partnership to upskill unemployed and under-employed citizens in SA.

Nemisa is a non-profit institute for education that derives its mandate from the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies.

According to a statement, the upskilling initiative will focus on strengthening the country’s skills proficiency in key digital domains like machine learning and software development.

“It’s exciting to see South Africa becoming more proficient across many digital skills, according to Coursera’s 2021 Global Skills Report,” says Trevor Rammitlwa, CEO of Nemisa.

“We’re thrilled that our partnership with Coursera will allow the local workforce to access more than 5 000 world-class courses from leading university and industry partners to support the country and its citizens in our journey towards becoming digital first.”

Before entering the national COVID-19-induced lockdown, the South African economy was already in decline, with the country’s unemployment rate rising over time.

The most recent figures from Statistics SA show the rate of unemployment in SA increased from 32.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 32.6% in the first quarter of 2021. The stats further highlight the concerning rate of unemployment among those aged between 15 and 24, which now stands at 74.7%, based on the expanded definition, which includes discouraged job-seekers.

Both Nemisa and Coursera believe access to a variety of job-relevant credentials, including pathways to entry-level digital jobs, will be key to reskilling the country at scale and accelerating economic recovery.

Speaking to ITWeb, Anthony Tattersall, Coursera vice-president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the partnership with Nemisa is very much focused on effectively building the country-level proficiency in key digital skills.

Tattersall revealed it will cover skills like cyber security, machine learning, digital transformation and data science.

Such initiatives, he explained, are a “great” example of how government programmes can support workforce development initiatives by giving people access to skillsets.

“We’re honoured to partner with Nemisa to help thousands of citizens learn the skills they need to re-enter the workforce in high-demand digital domains.

“Nemisa’s programme will play an important role in unlocking the country’s full potential in these areas.”

The initiative will be rolled out in Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, North West, Free State, Northern Cape, Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

For more information on Nemisa’s upskilling programme and to apply, click here.

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