More than 100 African talents work with a growing number of European and American employers (already 25 companies so far) through Talenteum every day. We identify the people with potential, recruit them and in some cases, we even fly them to work in our headquarters in Mauritius. We get them trained if needed, and match them with the right employers to carry out remote work on long-term contracts.
Whether they work from home or from our offices, we give our talents all the equipment they need in their roles. We also guide them, advise them on what jobs would suit them better and what skills they should acquire to progress further in their careers. Here’s why Talenteum encourages African talents to upskill and what are some of the resources they can use.
The need for Upskilling
In this digital era, economies evolve more rapidly and in response, companies and their staff need to adjust quicker. We have observed that regular upskilling is now a must. We have understood that it’s a reality for Africans as well; particularly those who want to work for employers based in first world countries. Despite coming from developing countries - with a more limited range of local training opportunities - than in Europe or North America, African talents have to be proactive in finding ways to increase their competencies. They need to stand out amongst international competition in order to be hired or get better jobs and earn higher wages. The candidates having skills sets that closely match employers’ needs will be more successful than others. That means keeping an up-to-date knowledge in one’s field, improving or adding to one’s abilities or acquiring the adequate skills in response to a shortage in a particular niche.
Thus, it is a competitive advantage to make upskilling efforts. One becomes more employable. Amongst our talents, we have some very ambitious young Africans who, in addition to their qualifications and professional experience, have taken online courses for specific skills and secured better work as a result. For instance, Olak, one of our DevOps Engineers and an IT degree holder, took an online course by IBM Watson in AI and chatbot building. He learned fast and after gaining these new skills, he had access to more work opportunities. Another one of our African talents, Stéphane, took an e-learning course in Marketing (from Hubspot Academy) - on top of the Diploma he already had. A few months later, he was given a 30% payrise based on improved performance.
The upcoming Skills Shortage
According to Linkedin Talent Blog, “[w]ithin the next 12 years, demand for highly skilled workers is going to skyrocket—especially across knowledge-intensive industries”. This source indicates that globally, there will be a lack of 10.7 million workers in the sectors of financial and business services and 4.3 million in the technology, media and telecommunications industries.
African talents need to get ready to be part of the answer to the major talent shortages in the world by 2030. The implementation of “an ecosystem for quality jobs” and “future skills to match” is crucial for “fully leveraging the continent’s demographic dividend”, as “15 to 20 million increasingly well-educated young people are expected to join the African workforce every year for the next three decades” (World Economic Forum in 2017 report “The Future of Jobs and Skills in Africa”).
Nevertheless, “skills mismatch” is one of the factors impeding young Africans in responding to the current and future industry needs (African Development Bank). The unequal access to tertiary education , particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) may be one of the causes. The World Bank in a 2017 study “Sharing Higher Education’s Promise beyond the Few in Sub-Saharan Africa”, asserts that “increasing demand and limited supply of tertiary education ... has led to tertiary education being available only to a subset of the youth population”. According to the World Bank, “[t]o date, tertiary education in SSA region has remained elitist, benefiting students mostly from the most affluent, well-connected families. Coupled with the “brain drain” phenomena that talented tertiary graduates leave SSA regions after they finish education, tertiary education in the region is not equitably producing the human capital that the countries direly need”.
Online courses accessible to African talents
As Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates believes, as high-speed cell networks grow and smartphones become as cheap as today’s voice-only phones, online education will flourish. For people in rich countries, it will be an important step forward. For the rest of the world, especially in places where growth is creating demand for educated workers, it will be a revolution”(cited from 2015 Gates Foundation Annual Letter). It will definitely has revolution potential in Africa...
High-quality free or affordable online courses can help young Africans become more employable. If they cannot find concrete jobs in their countries, they can do remote or gig work and earn a living. Then, they do not have to leave their countries to find jobs elsewhere.
- Pan African Virtual and E-University (PAVEU) project by the African Union
To address the aforementioned skills issue, one of the measures Africa has taken is the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA) 2016-2025. It’s in this direction that the African Union launched the Pan African Virtual and E-University or PAVEU project - under the high patronage of the President of The Republic of Cameroon - back in December 2019. According to the latter, the PAVEU project “aims to accelerate development of human capital, science and technology and innovation through increasing access and continuing education in Africa by capitalizing on the digital revolution and global knowledge”.Those Africans who want to study at this e-university can register on the PAVEU website and once admitted, will have access to an e-learning portal. PAVEU offers internationally recognised courses in Virtualisation and Cloud Computing (VMWARE), Entrepneurship and Innovation, Media and Information Literacy (UNESCO) and Professional Efficiency and Self-Employability (UVA). According to the PAVEU website, all courses are “absolutely free”.
- Microsoft’s 4Afrika Academy
The 4Afrika Initiative was launched 7 years ago by Microsoft. It is comprised of interconnected clusters, namely Interns4Africa, Microsoft Virtual 4Afrika Academy, MySkills4Afrika and Biz4Afrika. Through this initiative, Microsoft is supporting a wide range of individuals and organisations across Africa, including students, graduates and job seekers. “Africa has the potential to lead the technology revolution – and so we’re empowering those with the right ideas to drive economic development, inclusive growth and digital transformation”, states Microsoft. The 4Afrika initiative has already achieved great results, “providing graduates and developers with in-demand digital skills and experience... 400 interns have been placed with 60 partners across 20 countries” (Microsoft). According to this corporation, the retention rate of these interns being 90%, the majority find full-time jobs after their internship. The corporation offers “virtual live courses streamed online” to those registered on this platform. Microsoft employees also volunteer in various skills transfer projects.
- Google Digital Skills for Africa
First announced back in 2016, the Digital Skills for Africa is Google’s initiative - along with diverse training partners - for young people, particularly from the African region, to “get new skills for a digital world”. For instance, students at any point of their journey, can choose the right lessons for themselves. They can create a customised learning plan from their computer, smartphone or tablet and learn at their own pace. According to Google Digital Skills for Africa, students track their progress by doing quizzes. When completing courses, they receive an accredited certificate that can help them boost their Linkedin profile and CV. They can get certified for free, but in some cases, they have to pay for a certificate. Students can pick from 126 online courses focused on Data and Tech, Digital Marketing and Career Development. These lessons have three levels of difficulty: beginner, intermediate as well as advanced, including modules. The duration range from under 2 hours to more than 20 hours. “Understand the basics of code”, “Business Writing” and “Improving Communication Skills” are examples of available courses. Monash University, Udacity and University of Virginia are some of the course providers. Google Digital Skills for Africa is recognised by several institutions and has been attributed, namely, the Marcom Awards and the UK Digital Experience Awards. “Google has trained more than two million Africans in more than 900 communities in 29 countries across the continent. It reached its first target of training 1 million people in March ”, indicates news website The Citizen.
- SAP Skills for Africa
SAP SE, a European multinational software corporation, is investing in Africans as part of the world’s future workforce. Its SAP Skills for Africa Programme launched in 2012, is “a comphensive program which combines technical and soft skill elements over a set period of time”. The training involves ICT skills. South African citizens participated in the programme last year. They were given three months of full time free SAP training, with “[h]ands-on simulated project exercises throughout...”. Upon successful graduation, “trainees [became] certified SAP consultants, with a guaranteed temporary job placement within the SAP Ecosystem for initial work experience purposes”. SAP also partners with other big businesses to train young people from other African countries.
SAP Skills for Africa aims at creating 10,000 jobs for young graduates across Africa by 2020 by providing SAP-relevant ICT training and placements in collaboration with governments, the public and private sectors and civil society” (World Economic Forum).
Created in 2012 by Stanford university professors, Coursera is an American online learning platform. It offers more than 3,900 courses and specialisations, more than 13 professional certificates and more than 20 degrees and Mastertrack Certificates. Those courses are provided by pstigious universities such as the Imperial College of London,Yale and the University of Pennsylvania and leading companies, including Google and IBM. Anyone can join Coursera for free and start streaming on-demand lectures. This platform already has a huge community, with more than 45 million learners. You can choose from hundreds of free courses or obtain a degree or certificate at “a breakthrough price”, according to Coursera. You can also learn at your own pace.
This a great offer for African talents to learn the latest skills such as business analytics, graphic design and Python, or get ready for a career in high-demand fields such as IT, AI and cloud engineering. They can also apply what they learn with “self-paced quizzes and hands-on projects” and “get feedback from a global community of learners”. Coursera is very effective. The Coursera Learner Outcomes Survey 2019 found that “87% of people learning for professional development report career benefits like getting a promotion, a raise, or starting a new career”.
- Hubspot Academy
According to Hubspot, HubSpot Academy is the worldwide leader in free online training for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service professionals. Launched in 2012, it is specialised in “comphensive certifications, singular topic courses, and bite-sized lessons for professionals looking to grow their career and business”. “Inbound Sales”, “Inbound Marketing” and “Building your first web app” are some of these courses.
Hubspot Academy’s courses concern “cutting edge business topics” and the certifications are globally recognised. You can progress in your career: “[i]nvest in yourself and your career by staying up to date on the latest trends in digital marketing, sales, customer support, and more”, affirms Hubspot. Note that as Hubspot’s official learning resource, users will learn about HubSpot software, so “they can market, sell, and grow an inbound business”. Even Coursera recognises this online academy. “HubSpot Academy's Inbound Certification has become the official badge of the inbound movement, with over 60,000 awarded annually”, asserts Coursera.
Talenteum: an ecosystem that integrates training
The aforementioned are amongst the main free or affordable quality e-learning resources that African talents can draw upon to educate themselves further and upskill. Nevertheless, there are others that should be mentioned: Future Learn, edX, Open Learn by Open University and Khan Academy.
After several years of operation, Talenteum has accumulated expertise in recruitment, training and the logistics of remote work; winning awards. As a social bridging platform, our objective is to become an ecosystem providing all-inclusive, highly-customised HR solutions that fully fit into the Future of Work. Learning, training and upskilling repsent an important part of the ecosystem we are building. We are exploring all those online training platforms. We are noting down exactly what courses are offered and keeping them as references to recommend to our African talents in their upskilling efforts. We have talents and clients operating in diverse fields including IT, Marketing, Sales, Accounting and Finance, Architecture and Design. Where there are no courses available for our talents to upskill and pcisely match clients’ needs, we will try our best to organise partnerships to develop them. We want both our talents and clients to have all the tools to grow and be professionally fulfilled.
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