Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 20 May 2020– As part of its continued efforts to build digital skills capacity,employability, and close the skills gap on the African continent, Microsoft4Afrika has partnered with Pan-African EdTech company and talent marketplace Gebeya Inc. and the Technology and Innovation Institute,Ethiopia (TechIn) to launch its first virtual SkillsLab in Ethiopia.
The lines between the physical and digitalworlds are blurring while the job landscape undergoes huge changes through thecreation of jobs that did not exist before.
In fact, the World Economic Forum (WEF) Future of Work report estimates that automation and AI alone could displace 75 million jobs by2022 while creating another 133 million new roles as companies rework thedivision of labour between humans and machines.
As new technologies drive the decline in low-skilledjobs, there is a need to upskill and reskill in order to stay competitive. Thisis particularly true in Africa where a skills gap persists. According to a WEFsurvey, 87% of African business leaders are concerned about the availability of key skillswith 45% noting “extreme” concern. Addressing the skills gap is critical toAfrica’s future success.
Through the SkillsLab programme, whichdevelops the digital skills, coding capabilities and workplace readiness ofyoung university graduates, Microsoft 4Afrika and its partners Gebeya and TechInwill provide apprenticeship-based training to 200 African software engineers,where they will work with experienced software engineers over the course of upto six months.
Microsoft4Afrika’s SkillsLab programme helps students to develop essential workplaceskills and provide them with practical experiences, leveraging emergingtechnologies to develop innovative technology solutions. The SkillsLab willwork with the students virtually to develop these skills. After graduating fromthe programme, apprentices have priority access to jobs through the Microsoft PartnerNetwork. In addition, the skills gained from the programme ensure that these graduateshave the know-how to become successful entrepreneurs.
“Outpacing the rate of change driven byemerging technologies, there is a need for nimble and continued learningopportunities that can derive tangible benefits” says Amrote Abdella, RegionalDirector, Microsoft 4Afrika. “Through its skilling initiatives Microsoft aimsto address these challenges by skilling and upskilling individuals toadequately seize these opportunities.”
“We are excited to be working with Microsoftto introduce this new version of the already previously successful SkillsLab programmeas it directly aligns with Gebeya’s values of increasing employability,productivity, and producing the best of African talent,” says Amadou Daffe, CEOand Co-Founder of Gebeya. “Apprentices of the programme will receive top-linetraining and mentoring as well as the market-relevant hands-on experience inproject management needed to meet global standards.”
“We have partnered with Microsoft in thisinitiative as it is a vital support mechanism in helping to bridge the skillsgap and increase employability rates for our talented young graduates. This SkillsLabwill ensure career readiness for apprentices by providing them with not onlyDevOps and Data Science skills, but also critical thinking, collaboration andcommunication, and creative skills,” adds Sandokan Debebe, Director General ofTechIn.
SkillsLab programmes that were previouslyrun in Ethiopia have proven successful. Microsoft 4Afrika had partnered with the EthiopianAirlines Group, to train young ICT graduates, equipping them with the skillsneeded to become ICT professionals and software engineers in the airlineindustry. After completing their apprenticeship, graduates could access jobs atEthiopian Airlines and its affiliate airlines in Africa.
Asecond partnership with TulaneUniversity Centre for Global Health Equity and Microsoft 4Afrika set up aSkillsLab (previously known as the AppFactory) to develop digital skills inhealthcare at the Wollo University Kombolcha Institute of Technology. InJanuary 2018, the first cohort of 21 apprentices graduated and 90% secured jobsas programmers, working for Wollo University and major hospitals across AddisAbaba.
In seven years, the 4Afrika initiative hasproduced 2,073 graduates from 19 SkillsLabs across the continent, with an 85% employmentrate achieved within three months of graduating. The initiative has beenrecognised by the International Finance Corporation as a best practice exampleof developing skills in sub-Saharan Africa.
This SkillsLab will focus on providingstudents with hands-on practice through 30 hours a week of training andmentoring on industry-based online courses and cloud-based product knowledgewhere students will earn Microsoft certification. If you are a fresh orunemployed graduate, or even a final-year university student, who wants toparticipate in the programme and gain world class certification, you can apply here(https://aka.ms/Ethiopia-SkillsLab).
“In light of the economic, business andsocial changes that we’re seeing during the Covid-19 crisis, the need forskilling has never been higher. Africa has a unique opportunity to be a skillshub for the world and Ethiopia, with its large youth population can lead theway in enabling its youth to engage in the digital workforce,” adds Microsoft4Afrika’s Abdella.
Microsoft(Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of anintelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every personand every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
The 4Afrika Initiative is Microsoft’sbusiness and market development engine in Africa. Launched in 2013, it aims tounlock and accelerate Africa’s potential to create technology not only for thecontinent, but for the world.
In seven years, the 4Afrika initiative hasreached 1,7 million small and medium businesses, supported more than 300startups, 12 accelerator partnerships, upskilled 108,000 Africans in MicrosoftCloud Society, placed 926 interns with 176 partners with an 85 percentretention rate, and produced 2,073 graduates from 19 Skills Labs, with an 85%employment rate. The initiative has been recognised by the InternationalFinance Corporation as a best practice example of developing skills insub-Saharan Africa.
GebeyaInc. is a Pan-African Ed Tech and online talent marketplace companyheadquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The company focuses on cultivating theuntapped potential of the African youth through its training programmes toprepare them for the demands of the global job market. Gebeya aims to become anactive contributor to Africa’s digital transformation and build a boomingAfrica through continental and global job opportunities. Its vision is to be themost trusted and reliable source of skilled talent that showcases Africa’scompetitiveness. For more information, visit www.gebeya.com.
TheTechnology and Innovation Institute (TechIn) facilitates, implementsand improves research and development of innovation and technology inidentifying sectoral development actors of the country through cutting-edgetechnology.It supports manufacturers and service providers to make them internationallycompetitive through providing research and development activities, enhancingtechnologies, prototypes and other similar activities; and make researchfindings accessible.