JOHANNESBURG, SA: The SAP Young Professional Program, which forms part of the broader Skills for Africa initiative, has extended its footprint with a revised, fully virtual model that has enabled young candidates in several African countries to participate in the program, despite the pandemic. Since its launch in 2012, the program has trained and graduated more than 1300 youths across Africa, with 99% having been placed in meaningful jobs post-graduation.
Cathy Smith, Managing Director at SAP Africa, says the events of 2020 have made it more important than ever for organizations to have access to a ready supply of digital skills. “Every organization needs digital skills in order to meet modern customer demands and become more resilient as they adapt to the extraordinary events of 2020. Despite the disruption brought by the pandemic, the new virtual teaching model has opened the door to more countries participating and will provide greater access to digital skills for more countries in the region.”
The SAP Young Professional Program is a two- to three-month training and development opportunity for university graduates that teaches technical and functional knowledge of key SAP technologies. The training is supplemented with soft and future skills to ensure graduates are ready to make an immediate impact in their workplace when they complete the training and become certified SAP Associate Consultants. Graduates gain a competitive edge in the job market and benefit from introductions to job opportunities within the SAP ecosystem to help them secure a position.
In light of the pandemic, the SAP Young Professional Program shifted to a virtual delivery model this year, which enabled more countries to benefit from the global best practice as all candidates completed the training remotely. In 2020, the program was launched in Algeria, Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Uganda, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, and Senegal, where it has empowered local university graduates, including talents from remote areas outside the capital cities.
In December, a group of 22 graduates from countries in Southern Africa completed their training, including candidates from Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. The participants started their training in September, and will now take up positions at key SAP partner and customer organizations to support their digital transformation efforts.
Marita Mitschein, Managing Director of the SAP Training and Development Institute and Senior Vice President Digital Skills at SAP Southern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, who launched the program in 2012, says: “Africa’s young people are the leaders of tomorrow, but they need enablement opportunities to drive the continent’s digital future and tap its enormous potential. Giving young talents the right digital and future skills will create jobs and boost growth in Africa.”
Additional candidates, hand-picked for the SAP Young Professional Program, have recently started their training across the continent in East Africa, West Africa as well as Northern Africa. These cohorts are part of a partnership with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The joint project aims to create 450 jobs for highly qualified professionals in the IT sector in ten African countries over the course of three years.
Since the start of the cooperation in mid-2019, it already has created more than 200 jobs for formerly unemployed or underemployed young talents through the SAP Young Professional Program. The cooperation project is part of the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation, which operates under the brand Invest for jobs, and the develoPPP.de program that GIZ implements on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Mitschein adds: “Our digital skill build programs such as the SAP Young Professional Program were created on the foundation of a highly unique collaborative effort, wherein we have always worked closely with SAP customers, partners, peers and other stakeholders such as universities and government organizations to deliver our programs successfully and create a quadruple-win situation: local youth find a job, our SAP customers and partners find brilliant talent, SAP enhances its ecosystem, and countries benefit as we support digital skills build and hereby help to prepare the economy and society for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in an increasingly digital post-pandemic world.”
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