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Global Citizen Festival: HP vows to reach 100,000 learners

By , ITWeb
South Africa , 03 Dec 2018

Global Citizen Festival: HP vows to reach 100,000 learners

Multinational IT firm HP has committed to reach 100,000 learners across Africa over the next three years through the company's HP LIFE (Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs) program.

The program offers free, online learning for users to gain the skills necessary to start and grow their own business or improve their employment opportunities, according to HP.

HP announced its commitment to business and technology skills development across the continent at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 concert, hosted in Johannesburg recently.

This pledge was underpinned by the launch of a new tech-enabled HP LIFE Centre.

In collaboration with institutions such as the Ekurhuleni West TVET College in Katlehong and its Centre of Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubator, the HP LIFE Centre in South Africa is described as a technology-enabled hub "to facilitate learning, collaboration and entrepreneurship in a physical, face-to-face setting."

The Centre offers 30 free, online courses focused on business and IT skills, from business planning and marketing, to raising capital and design thinking says HP.

According to HP by 2030, Africa will be home to 32% of the population under the age of 30, and the largest working age population by 2035.

"Yet, today's youth unemployment in Africa is up to three times higher than adult unemployment."

Nate Hurst, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer, HP, said, "We believe that education is a human right, that technology in the classroom is a critical component for a 21st century education, and that in today's economy our learning is never done. Africa is experiencing rapid urbanisation and digitisation - and it's essential that people have access to learn skills for the work of tomorrow. This new HP LIFE Centre provides a launch-pad for innovation and opportunity across the continent."

HP claims this latest commitment furthers its goal to enable better learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025 and enrol one million HP LIFE users between 2016 and 2025.

"HP's pledge supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4," reads an excerpt from a statement issued by the company.

In December 2017 the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) released the results of its ICT skills survey according to which over 53% of the 300 respondents indicated a preference for offsite learning.

The shortage of ICT skills in South Africa is mainly due to a low interest in acquiring ICT training and qualifications and not the result of the high cost of education and training, according to survey.

In October 2018, the JCSE and the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) jointly released the 2018 ICT Skills Survey which revealed that South Africa is not doing nearly enough to ready school-leavers to engage and fill important vacant roles within the country's ICT sector.

Moreover Information security and cyber security skills remain at the top of the priority list and there are new priorities for emerging skill sets including AI, IOT and payment systems.

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