The event showcased the SAP Educate to Employ initiative and aimed to educate youth aged between 16 and 24 years on soft skills, foundational knowledge and SAP skills using the student zone on the SAP Learning site. On the site, students can learn about the latest SAP solutions for free to kickstart their careers.

The initiative forms part of SAP's global commitment to supporting UNICEF's Generation Unlimited (GenU), a public-private youth partnership that aims to deliver innovative solutions to challenges youth face around the world.

In the region, the partnership is aimed at helping young people in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa gain skills for employment, with 100 youth forming part of the initial intake in South Africa. 

"Skilling of our youth to meaningfully participate in the digital economy is essential to an equality-centric and prosperous nation. We welcome SAP's continued investment in skills development for the youth and extend our congratulations to UNICEF and SAP on their partnership," says Pinky Kekana, deputy minister in the presidency for planning, monitoring and evaluation.

"The South African government is encouraged by the initiative, and we look forward to supporting efforts to scale the SAP Educate to Employ initiative," adds Kekana. 

SAP says that the admission of the first 100 participants was announced at the event. A competitive set of students selected from a pool of 18 000 applicants across the continent will receive fully remote learning over a six to 12-month period, with the aim of joining the SAP ecosystem as a young professional upon completion of the course.

Anele Chulayo, an SAP Educate to Employ candidate, says, "I have been passionate about coding since high school and the possibility of creating apps and technology that can make a difference to young people from all walks of life. I applied for SAP Educate to Employ in August this year and am delighted to have been selected as part of their programme."

"The programme is already underway, and I'm excited to be learning new things each and every day including programming language and web development. I believe in the power of technology to do good and make a positive impact and difference in people's lives, regardless of background," adds Chulayo. 

Kholiwe Makhohliso, managing director at SAP Southern Africa, says, "Upskilling and mobilising Africa's youth population is one of the defining challenges of our time. To build a prosperous future for all, we must urgently address one of South Africa and the continent's greatest challenges — youth unemployment — which affects a disproportionate number of African youth."

"We are proud to introduce a new Corporate Social Responsibility initiative as a demand-driven job creation initiative that empowers youth with vital skills, knowledge, attitudes and values to build their competencies for the 21st-century digital economy," adds Makhohliso. 

The initiative builds on SAP's other extensive youth skills development initiatives throughout Africa. This includes Africa Code Week, which has trained nearly 14 million African youth in basic coding skills, as well as the SAP Young Professional Program, which has equipped nearly 2 000 youth in Africa with work-ready SAP skills and certification as well as direct job placements, says SAP.

SAP and UNICEF first joined forces in support of GenU in 2019 launching in:
  • India
  • Turkey, and
  • Vietnam.

The partnership was further extended in 2022 with a USD$4.55-million over three years investment focussed on impacting youth in:
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria
  • the Philippines, and
  • South Africa.

It has since generated opportunities for over 7.6 million adolescents through inclusive and innovative skills development programmes.

According to SAP, the initiative launches in South Africa at a time when youth unemployment was at a peak. More than half of South Africa's youth are currently unemployed. Without concerted efforts by public and private-sector role-players, South Africa will not reap the benefits of its substantial youth skills pool.

Christine Muhigana, UNICEF's representative in South Africa, says, "To remain competitive in a dynamic and changing job market, youth need access to work-relevant skills and training opportunities. Through our partnership with SAP and working closely with key public sector role-players, we believe that this initiative can potentially make a lasting positive impact on youth job prospects in South Africa and beyond." 

UNICEF concludes that it does not endorse any company, brand, product or service.

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