Empowering 300,000 South African Youths with AI Training

Kalane Rampai, Ravi Naidoo and Lillian Barnard

Through a collaboration between Microsoft South Africa and the Youth Employment Service (YES), an innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) training initiative will empower 300,000 young South Africans with digital skills, fostering a future of innovation, employability, and economic growth.

The AI Youth Training Platform is an extension of the longstanding partnership between Microsoft and YES, celebrated at the recent Microsoft South Africa’s A New Era with AI event in Sandton.

Over 1,000 IT professionals and developers leading the AI transformation in the country hailed this initiative as a crucial game-changer.

YES, and Microsoft have jointly curated and developed customized training materials, offering a training path that caters to various levels of AI exposure and computer science knowledge. The platform educates all youths, fostering AI skills development from novice to expert levels and increasing awareness.

Recognizing that the world of AI can seem foreign to many, an introductory AI learning module was designed to offer young people a foundational understanding of AI, emphasizing its practical purpose and value.

Ravi Naidoo, CEO of YES, underscores the partnership’s commitment to equipping youth with digital skills for future-focused sectors and careers, with the significant number of beneficiaries highlighting the scale of impact they aim to achieve.

Practically, this partnership aims to boost job creation and enhance employability, contributing to the establishment of a digitally inclusive economy in the country.

Lillian Barnard, President of Microsoft Africa, emphasizes that this collaboration with YES not only addresses youth unemployment but also fosters a culture of innovation and employability through digital skill development.

In line with Microsoft’s AI strategy, emphasizing innovation, empowerment, and responsibility, it forges a global talent pool for digital enterprises. Youth completing YES training gain AI awareness and career potential, enhancing their work opportunities.