Approximately 300 000 young South Africans will become more employable amid South Africa’s moribund economy after they receive Artificial Intelligence (AI) training through a partnership between Microsoft South Africa and Youth Employment Service (YES).
Digital skills are currently highly in demand and AI is seen as a game changer. AI, propelled by computational prowess, machine learning, and the vast reservoir of data analytics, has assumed the mantle of automating repetitive tasks.
The AI Youth Training Platform is an extension of a long-term relationship between Microsoft and YES.
YES and Microsoft said they have curated and developed training material, creating a training path that addresses the different levels of exposure to AI and computer science. The platform is designed to enable all young people to get access to, and awareness of AI – and be able to build skills from Novice through to Expert level.
For many, the world of AI is foreign. Recognising this gap, the introductory AI learning module, was designed to provide an entry-level view of AI to the youth, with the focus being on highlighting the purpose and value of AI to students in a practical, yet accessible manner.
Ravi Naidoo, the CEO of YES, said, “This collaborative effort with Microsoft is a testament to our ongoing commitment to equipping the youth with the digital skills for future-facing sectors and careers. The significant number of beneficiaries underscores the scale of impact we want to achieve through this partnership.”
From a practical level, this partnership is geared towards creating a surge in job creation and enhanced employability to make significant strides for the country to put in place a more digitally inclusive economy.
Lillian Barnard, the President for Microsoft Africa, said, “Together with YES, we are not only addressing the pressing issue of youth unemployment but also helping create a culture of innovation and employability through digital capability building. Microsoft’s approach to AI is based on meaningful innovation, empowering people, and responsibility. This partnership delivers on these three pillars as the means to grow a new talent pool for digital businesses to tap into not only in South Africa, but the rest of the world.”
The companies said participants who completed the AI Expert Module and who met key criteria, would be eligible for certification.
YES reports that it placed 25287 young people in full-time jobs in the fiscal year ended March 2022.
Lindiwe Sebesho is the Managing Director of Remchannel, in her opinion, “Why companies and employees should embrace the AI revolution“, run on Business Report online earlier this year, said, ”In the near-future, AI-related skills and knowledge will be critical factors for employability, relevance, performance, and retention.
“This will drive a strategic shift toward re-skilling and upskilling the labour force to adapt to the evolving demands of the digital age, culminating in a job market characterised by “high-skill/high-output/high-reward” dynamics. Already, we can see this transformation taking shape in the job market with the emergence of new roles and in-demand skills that attract premium pay levels for exceptional output in the shortest possible time.“