Of the 1 million trainees that have benefited from the Google program, almost 500, 000 are from Nigeria.
I was at Google’s Digital Skills4Africa event yesterday held at The George Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos and the tech giant announced that it had successfully trained 1 million youths across Africa in various kinds of digital skills.
Google Africa had announced in April 2016 that it would train 1 million African youths on digital skills within a year. The event was to announce that it had achieved that milestone, with about a month to spare.
Google’s Digital Skills Program offers 89 courses that can be taken online or offline. For the offline part, Google works with 14 partners across 20 countries in Africa to make it happen. The program is designed to help young people between 18 and 25 years old across Africa better understand how to take advantage of the web. However, the program is open to all age groups.
“The Web is a driver of economic growth, and is transforming society as a whole. People must be equipped, through training and reskilling to make use of the tools, and take advantage of it for entrepreneurship, employment and e-inclusion,” says Google Nigeria country Manager Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor.
The event had a panel featuring Moni Udoh, ICT Director at the Ministry of Communications; Smart Akande, Legal Adviser at the Office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); Mrs Olatutu, a representative from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC); and Tayo Olosunde of Mind The Gap. All the panelists represented organisations that Google was working with in Nigeria to achieve the aims of its program. Special Adviser to the Vice President on Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ife Adebayo joined later on.
Speaking during the panel session, Smart Akande said the Office of the SSA to the President on SDGs was involved in the program because the government saw it as a chance to forward its poverty eradication agenda, adding that he expects the program to change the employment landscape in the country.
As elaborated on by Mrs Olatutu, the NYSC and Google had partnered through the Scheme’s Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurial Development (SAED) program to get the digital skills training program to corps members across the country.
On feedback, Tayo Olosunde said the program had received generous feedback from the participants, with many often giving information on how the program has changed their lives.
“Having 1 million digitally skilled young people in Africa is good for everyone. If young people have the right skills, they’ll build businesses, create jobs and boost economic growth across the continent,” said Bunmi Banjo, Growth Engine & Brand Lead, Sub-Saharan Africa. “As we expand this initiative to reach more local areas across the continent, we hope to see more impact in everyday lives of Africans.”
Moving forward, Google said it intended to continue the program and improve on it even. First, it would make offline versions of the online program available to individuals and businesses in low access areas where it can’t hold physical training sessions. Next, it would provide offline versions of the program’s content in more languages starting with Hausa, Swahili and IsiZulu.
Of the 1 million trainees that have benefited from the Google program, almost 500, 000 are from Nigeria. 53% of participants in the training were men and 47% were women, with Google saying it plans to make sure at least 40% of all participants in the training are women.
Some trainees who had success stories from the training were also present at the event to emphasis the program’s benefits. Google will continue the program for the foreseeable future and it plans to continue to work with more partners and create avenues to get the content to its target audience.