Africa’s growing technology ecosystem offers opportunities to create digital solutions that make traditional ways of working more productive, while enabling the creation of new income streams and job opportunities. However, employers across the continent state that many job seekers do not possess the requisite digital skills, limiting employability prospects and business growth. The COVID-19 pandemic has also driven home the importance of digital tools and skills. In its wake, the most successful businesses were those whose operating model and employees could easily navigate the crisis and transition to digital service delivery.
As a company, we are committed to being helpful contributors to Africa’s growth. We aim to equip people with the right skills, tools and products to navigate the digital world and to make it work for them. We are committed to helping job seekers gain relevant skills and advance their careers. In 2017, we committed to prepare 10 million people for jobs of the future over five years. So far, we have trained +5M people in Digital Skills through our Grow with Google programs. With lockdowns and jobs at risk because of COVID-19, we saw year-on-year demand for our training increase by 185%.
Today, we are announcing three new Google Career Certificates available online on Coursera, which enable people to become job-ready for growing career areas such as IT Support, Project Management, UX Design and Data Analytics. These low-cost programs help people who want to learn online at their own pace, or who may want to change careers and don't have the time or means to access traditional education. They can be completed in under six months and do not require relevant experience or a degree.
These certificates are entirely developed by Google but bring no revenue or profit for Google. They are product agnostic and are designed to help people prepare for jobs at any company or sector. We will be distributing 5,500 scholarships in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa this year.
In November 2020, Google.org invested $750,000 in grant funding to Junior Achievement Africa and the International Youth Foundation to provide 2,500 vulnerable learners with Career Certificate scholarships along with wrap-around support at every step of the learning journey, including: career advice, interview preparation, and peer-to-peer networks.
This year, we are working with distribution partners with strong workforce development programs to reach 3,000 additional learners with scholarships.
- Learning Lions
- Presidential Digital Talent Programme
- Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO)
- Tunapanda Institute
- TVET Authority
- AIESEC Nigeria
- African Coding Network
- Global Citizen
- Youth Employment Service (YES)
We believe these certificates will help close the growing skills gap in order to fully reap the benefits of Africa’s rapidly-expanding workforce. We urge governments and companies to join us in exploring new ways to remove barriers to learning and investing in innovative partnerships. We hope that with these new efforts even more people can develop the skills they need to thrive and improve their careers through technology.
Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Head, Brand & Reputation, Sub Saharan Africa