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Empowering Youth: Vodacom & Microsoft’s Digital Skills Initiative

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To combat the staggering 44% youth unemployment rate in South Africa, Vodacom South Africa and Microsoft South Africa have joined hands to offer free access to digital training courses through the Mzansi Digital Learning platform.

This collaboration acknowledges the significant digital skills gap in a country with one of the world’s largest youth populations and aims to address the critical need for relevant skills in today’s job market. It underscores the shared commitment of both companies to promote digital inclusion, ensuring that everyone has access to opportunities in the digital economy and proficiency in key technological advancements such as Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Mathys Venter, Managing Executive for Prepaid and Loyalty at Vodacom South Africa, expressed gratitude for the transformative partnership with Microsoft South Africa, “We are extremely grateful to embark on this transformative partnership with our longstanding partner Microsoft South Africa. Collaborating with a like-minded brand that shares our values and ambition is a testament to our collective commitment to address unemployment and empower individuals through innovative digital training,” says Mathys Venter, Managing Executive for Prepaid and Loyalty at Vodacom South Africa.

The Mzansi Digital Learning platform will be hosted on the new NXT LVL rewards platform, integrated into Vodacom’s ConnectU platform, which allows customers to access content without incurring mobile data charges. Moreover, the platform eliminates the cost barrier for connectivity to educational content and focuses on essential topics such as Generative AI, entrepreneurship, and cybersecurity. Upon completion of the courses, users receive certification, with all programs designed to align with the most sought-after jobs in South Africa.

Asif Valley, National Technology Officer at Microsoft South Africa, highlighted their dedication to supporting and enabling youth in closing the skills gap, emphasizing the importance of equipping young people with skills relevant to current and future job markets. Microsoft South Africa collaborates with local partner Afrika Tikkun to provide training, tools, and platforms to enhance youth employability and entrepreneurship.

Commenting on the partnership, Onyi Nwaneri, the Group CEO of Afrika Tikkun said: “Afrika Tikkun’s vision is to help young people gain skills that will enable them access and sustain access into the digital economy. The partnership with Microsoft and Vodacom ensures that this access is affordable, meaningful, empowering, and sustainable. Young people are encouraged to embrace this opportunity and leverage it for their advancement. This is a milestone and we are so grateful to be part of this pioneering initiative.”

Both organizations aim to reach 300,000 individuals with the Mzansi Digital Learning platform in the coming months, with the success of the initiative hinging on the willingness of young people to embrace digital skills courses as a means to acquire essential proficiencies and entrepreneurial knowledge for economic participation.

Valley concluded by highlighting the significance of empowering people to effectively harness digital technologies, ultimately contributing to the creation of sustainable businesses and driving a common social goal alongside Vodacom.

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