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Stakeholders hinge development on technology, youth empowerment

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Hakeem Fahm

Lagos State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Hakeem Fahm, said true transformation is only possible when there is a mind-set shift to become outstanding.

Fahm said this during the SAP graduation ceremony, after a three-month intensive digital training and certification programme. The SAP Young Professional Programme was organised by SAP in partnership with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and hosted by Deloitte.

The Commissioner said African youths can indeed play active roles in the much-anticipated digital skills and technologies-dominated future economy.

SAP Africa continues its digital skill build efforts in Nigeria, by supporting young Nigerian talents as part of its public-private-academic partnerships.

Lauding efforts of SAP in reducing digital skills shortage, Fahm said these efforts will boost productivity and innovation of even the most successful global organisations.

“Around this time last year, we were all gathered here to celebrate the first crop of graduates of this program, who have since then supported organisations to thrive in the digital era. The intensity at which the SAP work-ready digital skill agenda is impacting lives shows that African youth can indeed play active roles in the much-anticipated digital skills and technologies -dominated future economy,” he added.

Managing Director, SAP Africa, Cathy Smith, noted that there is urgency to equipping more African youth with digital skills. This is based on the fact that more than 40 million high-skilled workers will be needed globally by 2020.

“Considering that youth account for 60 per cent of Africa’s unemployed, and that the continent has the largest and fastest-growing youth population in the world, it is imperative that we equip our young talents with the skills needed for active participation in the global economy,” said Smith.

She added that the firm’s commitment has been fuelled by positive feedback on past projects.

“These consistent training programmes will empower local communities and close digital skills gap; provide businesses with the right support system; and power economic expansion,” Smith said.

Also, SAP recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Covenant University in Nigeria, for the Dual Study Programme, extending the programme’s reach to 24 universities across 13 countries globally.

On the partnership, Managing Director of the SAP Training and Development Institute, Marita Mitschein, said the 6-12 months programme combines university theoretical studies with the opportunity for students to take SAP certification during academic years under the collaborative curriculum.

“This helps bridge the gap between university and workplace by giving students a competitive edge. With a pervasive digital skills shortage affecting even the most successful global organisations, the SAP Young Professional Program and SAP Dual Study Programme provide organisations with employable tech talents using SAP technologies,” Mitschein added.

Assistant Professor and Director International Officer and Linkages at Covenant University, Dr. Ada Peters, said the Dual Study Programme is a great opportunity for students to build the right skill set required by the labour market before they graduate, which allows them to kick start their career immediately after graduation.

“By joining hands with the market leader in enterprise application software, we can empower our young people who will shape the future of our country and our continent,” she added.

Graduates of the Young Professional Programme undergo a rigorous selection process before embarking on the three-month full-time training where they are equipped with SAP and soft skills needed to succeed in the modern workplace.

This cohort of the Young Professional Programme in Nigeria, is part of a recently-announced collaboration between SAP and the German BMZ with the aim to jointly create 450 jobs for highly qualified personnel in the IT sector in 10 African countries over the course of three years.


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