In July we reported on Microsoft’s Global Skills Initiative, which aimed to develop more digital skills worldwide. We also found out that locally Microsoft South Africa would be leveraging the expertise and knowledge of organisations like Afrika Tikkun in order to meet some ambitious skills development goals.

Now Microsoft SA is provided an update on that front, explaining the role that Afrika Tikkun will play, as well as how much funding it will have access to in order to deliver digital skills where they are most needed in the country.

To that end Microsoft SA says it has given Afrika Tikkun a grant of roughly $150 000, which translates to more than R2.5 million.

“In the three months since its launch, the initiative has reached 10 million engaged learners in 231 countries – and more than 83 000 in South Africa. So far, Software Developer, Customer Service Specialist, and Data Analyst have emerged as the most popular and in-demand learning paths,” explains a press release sent to Hypertext.

As we saw from the recent figures related to employment from Stats SA, there is a dire need to assist people in the count, which is something that Microsoft SA says it is acutely aware of.

“This is why Microsoft South Africa committed to working with strategic long-term partner non-profits like Afrika Tikkun to drive the programme and assist the people who need it most to reskill and pursue an in-demand job using resources from LinkedIn, Microsoft and GitHub,” the company adds.

As for how Afrika Tikkun aims to utilise the sizeable grant it has received, the NPO says that it will focus on the following elements moving forward:

  • “Recruiting jobseekers to be reskilled and positioned to access opportunities in the job economy
  • Assessing recruited jobseekers, identifying and implementing the most appropriate learning pathways to follow based on their existing skillset and the most in-demand skills and jobs in South Africa identified through data and analytics
  • Providing free access to curated learning pathways for in-demand roles within the economy across LinkedIn Learning, GitHub and Microsoft Learn
  • Supporting and incentivising as many job seekers as possible to achieve certifications by completing various exams offered on the digital platforms
  • Sourcing work experience and job placement opportunities and providing employability tools and connections to jobs offered, including connections to work-based learning, coaching and mentoring
  • Providing post-placement support through the organisation’s alumni network between September 2020 and 31st March 2021.”

The NPO has also set some ambitious targets for itself thanks to the grant, with Afrika Tikkun aiming to recruit 50 000 jobseekers into the Global Skills Initiative programme.

Added to this it will assess 14 500 of them to determine the best learning pathway, as well as enrol 1 000 of them for formal certification and help 500 get formally certified.

Furthermore it says it will assist 500 secure a job, work experience or economic opportunity and help 50 become entrepreneurs.

“Partnering to bring together resources that reimagine how people learn and apply new skills to prepare for the workplace of the future, as well as create opportunities to equip unemployed South Africans with much-needed digital skills is a priority for Microsoft,” adds Siya Madyibi, Legal and Corporate Affairs director at Microsoft SA.

Unemployed individuals interested in accessing digital skills can register for the programme on Afrika Tikkun’s website or learn more on the Microsoft microsite.

[Image – Photo by Surface on Unsplash]