SAP Africa conducted an online graduation ceremony for 27 young professionals who recently completed its training as part of the SAP Young Professional Program, a digital skill build initiative under the umbrella of SAP Skills for Africa. The 27 graduates from Ghana and Nigeria, join another group of graduates from Nigeria who completed their training earlier this month.
According to Marita Mitschein, the Senior VP for Digital Skills for Southern Europe, Middle East & Africa at SAP and the MD at the SAP Training and Development Institute, this year’s graduates had to cope with a disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which forced a change in the format of the program. “With countries across the continent in lockdown for much of this year, we had to adapt to a fully virtual delivery model. The new reality brought by the coronavirus has further highlighted the urgent need to accelerate digital skills development, especially as the world of work becomes increasingly digital. We are grateful to this year’s graduates for taking on the challenge and making a success of their training despite the challenging conditions.”
According to data by the World Bank, more than 230 million jobs in Africa will require digital skills by 2030. The continent is also the world’s most youthful region, with more than 60% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population under the age of 25. However, despite the immense opportunities, many youth are still affected by high unemployment rates, adding urgency to the establishment of sustainable digital skills development programs that can equip the continent’s youth with work-ready skills.
Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Education in Ghana, says: “The COVID-19 crisis has plunged the whole world into uncharted waters and transformed the way businesses and organisations operate, communicate and transfer knowledge. What this means is that we must leapfrog our efforts at employing digital skills to meet our needs and aspirations. Partnerships and collaborations are essential in this.”
Both groups of recent graduates are part of a collaboration between SAP and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH with the aim to jointly create 450 jobs for highly-qualified personnel in the IT sector in ten African countries over the course of three years. The cooperation project is part of the special initiative “Training and Job Creation” and the develoPPP.de program that GIZ implements on behalf of The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Pedro Guerreiro, the MD for Central Africa at SAP, says individuals and organizations share the responsibility for securing a bright digital future for the continent. “There is great urgency to close the digital skills gap and support our youth, especially in light of this year’s events and the uncertain time that lies ahead. In line with our purpose of helping the world run better and improving people’s lives, SAP is proud to continue supporting initiatives that address pressing global issues, in Africa and beyond.”
The SAP Young Professional Program is a three-month training and development opportunity for university graduates that teaches technical and functional knowledge of key SAP technologies, paired with soft and future skills and is offered under the SAP Skills for Africa initiative across Africa. Young professionals graduate as SAP Associate Consultants and, through close partnerships between SAP and its customers and partners, are placed in roles where their skills can make an impact.
Former graduate Emmanuel Akpanika, who now works as SAP Associate Consultant at Deloitte Nigeria, says: “The SAP Young Professional Program has shifted my career into high gear. All the technical and soft skills I developed during the program have enabled me to seamlessly integrate and live up to what is expected of an SAP Associate Consultant at one of the leading global firms, Deloitte.”
The SAP Young Professional Program has become a global best practice that supports the immediate employability of young talents in technology through collaboration and partnerships. Since its launch in 2012, the program has trained and graduated more than 1170 youths across Africa and more than 2870 talents globally, therefore creating sustainable work opportunities for the new digital economy. This marks the third year of graduates from Nigeria, after successful programs in 2018 and 2019.