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SAP offers soft skills to youth

The Educate to Employ initiative, with UNICEF and GenU, aims to provide foundational knowledge to students.

SAP has launched an Educate to Employ initiative aimed at educating youth aged 16–24 years on soft skills, foundational knowledge and SAP skills using the student zone on the SAP Learning site.

The initiative forms part of SAP’s global commitment to supporting UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited (GenU), a public-private-youth-partnership that aims to deliver innovative solutions to challenges youth face around the world.

In the African region, the partnership is aimed at helping young people in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa gain skills for employment, with 100 youth forming part of the initial intake in South Africa.

The first 100 participants were announced at an event in Johannesburg last week. Students selected from a pool of 18,000 applicants across the continent will receive fully remote learning over a six- to twelve-month period, with the aim of joining the SAP ecosystem as a young professional upon completion of the course. 

Kholiwe Makhohliso, managing director of SAP Southern Africa, says: “Upskilling and mobilising Africa’s youth population is one of the defining challenges of our time. To build a prosperous future for all, we must urgently address one of South Africa and the continent’s greatest challenges – youth unemployment – which affects a disproportionate number of African youth.”

The initiative builds on SAP’s other extensive youth skills development initiatives throughout Africa, including Africa Code Week, which has trained nearly 14-million African youth in basic coding skills, and SAP Young Professional Program, which has equipped nearly 2000 youth in Africa with work-ready SAP skills and certification as well as direct job placements.

SAP and UNICEF first joined forces in support of GenU in 2019 launching in India, Turkey and Vietnam. The partnership was further extended in 2022 with a $4.55-million investment over three years, focused on impacting youth in Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines and South Africa.

It has since generated opportunities for over 7.6-million adolescents through inclusive and innovative skills development programs. The initiative launches in South Africa at a time when youth unemployment is at a peak. More than half of South Africa’s youth are currently unemployed. Without concerted effort by public- and private-sector role-players, South Africa will not reap the benefits of its substantial youth skills pool.

Christine Muhigana, UNICEF representative in South Africa, says: “To remain competitive in a dynamic and changing job market, youth need access to work-relevant skills and training opportunities. Through our partnership with SAP and working closely with key public sector role-players, we believe that this initiative can potentially make a lasting positive impact on youth job prospects in South Africa and beyond.”

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