Google has launched a new stage in its Digital Skills for Africa programme, its initiative aimed at training 10 million young Africans by the year 2022.
At an event in Soweto, the search engine giant announced it planned to deepen its focus to ensure it achieves its target by launching Digital Skills In Communities.
The new initiative is aimed at bringing technology literacy courses to jobseekers and businesses where they are in roughly 100 communities across a number of African nations, including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Soweto is the first community to benefit from this new initiative.
“The digital skills programme provides free training courses, tools and in-person coaching. It helps people get the right skills to find a job, advance their careers or grow their businesses,” said Mzamo Masito, Google Africa’s CMO.
Masito said that by engaging at community level, Google hoped to get more business and individuals online and equipped to take advantage of the opportunities the internet presents them.
“We know that more needs to be done to support our people to succeed in the digital world, and we want to be part of that. The internet offers huge opportunities to start new businesses and grow existing ones, and we’re committed to helping people in Soweto and across South Africa make the most of the digital revolution within their communities,” Masito said.
“This is in line with the government’s National Development Plan, which seeks to create five million jobs in the ICT sector by 2030. We believe we can contribute to this through the Digital Skills for Africa programme,” he added.
Since first announcing Digital Skills for Africa back in April of 2016, Google has trained more than two million Africans in more than 900 communities in 29 countries across the continent. It reached its first target of training 1 million people in March last year.
The Digital Skills programme offers 89 courses through the online portal. Google is also collaborating with training partners to offer face-to-face courses and workshops for communities, small businesses, government departments and municipalities.
“People who do not know the digital space are being left behind – they need the skills and digital literacy that Google’s programme is providing,” said Zine Nkukwana, CEO of Lindamahle Management Systems, one of Google’s training partners.
“Communities need to embrace this,” she said.