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Google prepares African youths for future online jobs

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A Google executive, Ms Bunmi Banjo, on Monday said that there was need for the refocusing of African youths, to prepare them for online jobs that would be available in future.

Banjo, who is the Head, Digital Education, Google Sub-Saharan Africa, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the digital era in which the world was in meant future jobs would be online.

She said African youths needed to be able to tap into these growing online opportunities, so they would not be stranded.

“In view of this fact, Google is poised to bridge the big gap between youths and online future jobs.

“In the job market, there is a big gap between future jobs that is jobs that are going to be available in the near future and the preparedness of young people to fill such positions.

“In order to fill this existing gap, Google introduced a portal called digitalskills.go.com.

“The idea is to train young people. We will show them what is possible with the web and how they can earn income through it and help their communities,’’ the Google executive said.

Banjo said under the training scheme, it would train a million youths from 23 countries.

According to her, the programme which started in April, was yielding great results as 500,000 youths had already been trained between the commencement date and September.

“We have met half of our target; we need another six months, which will end in March to train the remaining 500,000 youths with the help of our partners.

“Out of these figure, 400,000 youths are to come from Nigeria.

“The programme involves six hours of content, 89 videos, with an option to choose either the business training or for young people. The training is also in three languages: English, French and Portuguese.’’

According to her, the idea is not charity, even though the training is free.

Banjo said the benefit to Google was in having a thriving digital economy in Nigeria, in particular and Africa, in general.
She added that the focus was also on youth employment and empowerment

“If the digital economy is strong and growing, obviously Google as a digital business will also flourish in the environment.

“It does not make sense to be in an environment with so many challenges that potentially affects one’s business and not try to deal with them.

“With the right environment, digital business will thrive with online advertisements, young people getting jobs digitally, earning money and it will trickle down on us too,’’ the Google executive said.

She explained that local trainers, who understood the communities, were being used for the training, adding that they translated the curriculum to their local classroom.

According to Banjo, the organisation will carry out an impact study to track and monitor the progress of the participants after the training.

“We have witnessed tremendous success so far.

“An example is that of a lady that got a job within two days of starting the training.

“There is another success story of a business in Kenya that experienced 60 per cent growth within months.

“A group of women also opened a WhatsApp group to encourage themselves technology-wise in their businesses.

“We are hopeful that in 2017, we will witness positive growth as people trained will have the benefit of getting jobs, opening businesses, hopefully on a large scale,’’ Banjo added.

She said the participants would not be hindered by network during and after the training as materials would be loaded on audio files.

“Audio files can load much faster and take smaller space with a lot less data required, and that is the way we are going,’’ she added.


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