As African enterprises continue their digital transformation initiatives accelerated by the pandemic, talent is once again in the spotlight.
World Bank data suggests more than 230 million jobs in Africa will require digital skills by the end of the decade, while a recent IFC report found that demand for digital skills will grow faster in Africa than in other global markets.
In Nigeria’s highly competitive oil and gas sector, a partnership between one of the largest oil and gas exploration and production companies and SAP on its Young Professionals Program is producing a steady supply of work-ready digital skills that can support vital digital transformation efforts.
“As a business, we are deeply committed to sustainable development and actively support development within our communities,” says Adeolu Okanlawon (pictured), ERP Product Manager at SDPC. “Partnership with SAP on Young Professionals Program contributes to our sustainable development program and helps fulfil our corporate agenda to develop local capability for the oil and gas industry and beyond.”
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) is the pioneer and leader of the petroleum industry in Nigeria. It has the largest acreage in the country from which it produces some 39 per cent of the nation’s oil.
“We learnt about the program through active partnership with SAP that plays a vital role in providing technology support needed for our business to run optimally,” says Okanlawon. “Since 2018, twenty graduates from the Young Professionals Program have been offered industrial placement in Shell companies in Nigeria to support our digital transformation activities and drive attainment of intelligent enterprise capabilities.”
The SAP Young Professionals Program is a two-to-three months enablement opportunity for recent university graduates that teaches technical and functional knowledge of key SAP technologies. The program includes training aimed at developing soft skills to ease the graduates’ integration into their workplaces. Successful candidates graduate as SAP Associate Consultants and are placed within key SAP partner and customer businesses, where they have the opportunity to make an immediate positive contribution.
“It’s really a good program that SPDC would love to see sustained,” adds Adeolu Okanlawon. “It provides a welcome short cut for developing highly skilled SAP consultants that positively contribute to the SAP ecosystem and help establish a vibrant network of skilled SAP experts across Nigeria. A standout is how the program imbue graduates with business-relevant skills above academic work, making entry into the workplace much easier.”
Pedro Guerreiro, the MD for Central Africa at SAP, adds: “Shell is a key customer for SAP in Nigeria and one of the leaders in deploying SAP technologies to improve operations, drive innovation and build greater long-term sustainability. By partnering with the Shell team and providing a steady stream of trained SAP consultants, we help ensure Shell gains maximum benefit from their SAP deployment and can realise its ambitions of becoming an intelligent enterprise whilst helping young African talents to thrive in the Digital Era.”