Nedbank has launched the Nedbank DigiSkills online platform, in partnership with Microsoft and Afrika Tikkun, to help South Africans acquire the in-demand skills needed in a more digital post COVID-19 economy.
This latest partnership builds on the momentum of Microsoft’s Global Skilling Initiative, which has helped over 400 000 people in South Africa gain access to digital skills like software development, data analysis and customer service specialisation since June last year.
The initiative aims to upskill and create sustainable income opportunities for 1 000 South Africans by the end of 2021, with plans to grow this number to 5 000 in the longer term.
South Africa faces the ongoing triple threat of unemployment, poverty and inequality, made worse by the pandemic: the country’s unemployment rate hit a record 34.4 percent in the second quarter of 2021 – equating to 7.8 million jobless South Africans – with the hardest hit being the youth and women in poorer and more remote areas. That builds on the 2.2 million jobs lost as a result of the pandemic.
Group Executive for Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Nedbank Group, Khensani Nobanda says digital skills plays an important role to upskill economically displaced and underrepresented individuals.
“Digital skills provide the tools needed to mitigate poverty, unemployment, and inequality by improving employability, enabling livelihood opportunities and unlocking opportunities to actively participate in the emerging and competitive digital economy.”
Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft South Africa, Lillian Barnard says these partnerships have been fundamental to scale programmes that help more people gain the critical future skills needed in the digital economy.
“We are committed to collaborating with partners such as Nedbank and Afrika Tikkun to provide the training, tools and platforms to boost employability and economic growth.”
CEO of Afrika Tikkun Services, Onyi Nwaneri says it is imperative to meaningfully accelerate investment in digital skills and tangibly contribute to building a digital economy.
“The time is to act is now in order to both overcome challenges of unemployment as well as harness the positive benefit that engaging in the digital economy has on individuals, families, communities and the country as a whole.”
The initiative will harness the individual and collective capabilities of each of the partners to provide the support needed to access the training. It is designed to do so by:
- Recruiting potential candidates over the age of 18 with a working grasp of English, who have been economically displaced, are underserved or unemployed.
- Providing access to free digital skills learning tracks of their choice through a low bandwidth online learning platform utilising the Microsoft Community Training Platform. This also comes with optional subsidised industry-recognised Microsoft certifications and exam writing at Nedbank facilities in major cities across South Africa.
- Equipping participants with a blended learning model facilitated through Afrika Tikkun with support mechanisms including peer groups, mentors and facilitators, shown to meaningfully increase the likelihood of participant success as well as secure higher engagement rates.
- Enablinglivelihood opportunities through career development intervention including career guidance, job readiness training and job placement support.
South Africans interested in equipping themselves with these in-demand digital skills can register for the programme on: https://www.digiskills.careers