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IBM promises to skill 30-million youth by 2030

The global project will include a partnership between IBM and the NYDA in South Africa

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IBM has unveiled its global plan to provide 30 million people of all ages with new skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow by 2030. To achieve this goal, IBM is announcing a clear roadmap with more than 170 new academic and industry partnerships. The effort will leverage IBM’s existing programs and career-building platforms to expand access to education and in-demand technical roles.

“Talent is everywhere; training opportunities are not,” says Arvind Krishna, IBM chairman and CEO. “This is why we must take big and bold steps to expand access to digital skills and employment opportunities so that more people – regardless of their background – can take advantage of the digital economy. Today, IBM commits to providing 30 million people with new skills by 2030. This will help democratize opportunity, fill the growing skills gap, and give new generations of workers the tools they need to build a better future for themselves and society.”

In South Africa, IBM has partnered with NYDA, to bridge the digital divide for the South African youth by enhancing digital literacy and preparing them to actively succeed in the 21st-century workplace with the essential skills for this disruptive era. Faced with high youth unemployment rates in South Africa, and given that technology is transforming jobs, industries and entire economies – IBM and the NYDA will run a series of educational boot camps through NYDA’s regional offices to digitally empower youth. The NYDA currently has programmes which it envisages would be mutually beneficial to both parties

Ria Pinto, acting general manager, IBM Southern Africa, says: “The country has set itself the task to take quantum leaps towards ushering in the digital economy. As digital skills are critical for future success, partnerships that will help young people to take advantage of the opportunities presented are increasingly important. Through our partnership with the National Youth Development Agency, IBM will help prepare our young people for the jobs of the future and contribute to building a workforce equipped with a new generation of skills.”

The youth are facing extreme difficulties in South Africa as only about 24% of them have jobs – and over 3 million youth between the ages 18 and 24 are not in employment. According to Statistics South Africa, youth aged 15-24 years and 25-34 years have the highest unemployment rates of any age group with 64,4% and 42,9% respectively – highlighting the growing need for the public and private sectors need to collaborate on education and training that keeps pace with market demands, demographic changes, and technology progress.

A Program for Everyone

With diverse offerings and an adaptable approach, IBM’s education portfolio strives to be unique and effective, reflecting IBM’s understanding that a one-size-fits-all approach simply does not work when it comes to education. IBM’s programs range from technical education for teens at brick-and-mortar public schools and universities, and extend to paid, on-site IBM internships and apprenticeships. The company’s skills and education programs also pair IBM mentorships with learners, and provide no-charge, customizable online curricula to aspiring professionals.

IBM’s plan to educate 30 million people relies on its broad combinations of programs, and includes collaborations with universities and key government entities — including employment agencies. Partnerships extend to NGOs as well, particularly those that focus on groups such as underserved youth, women, and military veterans. In general, IBM’s efforts mobilize the private sector across the globe to open and expand opportunity pathways for underrepresented and historically disadvantaged communities.

Said Martin Sundblad, research manager and co-lead, European skills practice at IDC, “The digital transformation has come to a point where it reaches into all processes, functions and job roles across enterprises and organizations, and the need for training becomes imperative for societies to adapt. Digital skills development, albeit in different scale and form, is now required throughout the education system, in most business functions, and within the IT professional community in order not to jeopardize the investments made. The IBM program has the size and reach that will support this transition.”

“Youth unemployment is a national crisis that demands urgent, innovative and coordinated solutions. Young people hold the key to transforming our economy, boosting growth and fostering creativity and innovation. They are essential to increasing productivity and improving the livelihoods of all South Africans” says Mr Waseem Carrim, NYDA CEO.

“The youth unemployment rate is over 40% according to the most recent statistics. We welcome the initiative by IBM and are proud to be a partner to the program. Estimates indicate a shortage of 60 000 digital skills in the South African economy and this program can be a catalyst for change. Effective solutions are being pioneered through this partnership through access to skills and we must therefore support and give prominence to what is working in the system, encourage innovation, and catalyse changes in the system that benefit tens of thousands of young people over the next decade.”

Learn more about this commitment, and the stories of IBM skilling programs and participants here

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