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To ensure that we are able to make waves, government has committed itself to a skills revolution that will give us the human capital required in the digital economy”. These were the words uttered by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the Digital Economy Summit held on Friday, 5 July at Gallagher Convention Centre.

Following closely on the President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call, Broadband Infraco and Google are proud to announce the launch of a collaboration aimed at providing learners and teachers, in remote rural areas, with the necessary skills to prepare for today’s changing work environments and the impact that the 4th Industrial Revolution will bring about.

Broadband Infraco was appointed lead agency in Government’s implementation of its SA Connect project, that is aimed to provide connectivity to government facilities, including schools, clinics, etc. in rural areas across South Africa. To further enhance the connectivity provided to date, Broadband Infraco has partnered with Google to provide training content under their Digital Skills Program, “Grow with Google”, to offer additional skills training. This training will be offered to learners and teachers outside of the school curriculum.

“Having experienced the roll-out of infrastructure and internet; and noticing the lack of adoption of the connectivity being provided to some of the schools due to a gap in digital skills, we sought the partnership with Google as a supplement and enhancement to the infrastructure provision. We believe that it is through such collaborative efforts that South Africa can harness the opportunity to use digital platforms to achieve part of the country’s priorities. Digital skills are key to enabling the successful adoption of 4IR, that is why it was crucial for us to supplement technology with skills transfer. That is powerful to ensuring that when connectivity is implemented, people are empowered with capability for unlocking its power, added Broadband Infraco’s Phumza Dyani.

“We have been working to help empower people across Africa with digital skills. We have trained over three million people so far, as part of our contribution to growing the digital economy. With an expected half a billion internet users by 2020, there are huge opportunities for the next generation, African businesses and digital entrepreneurs. If our youth have the right skills, they are prepared for future jobs, can build businesses, create jobs and boost economic growth across the continent. We aim to equip millions of South Africans with digital skills and tools to help them build an online presence, create content, understand web design and user experience, social media, app development and digital marketing, said Google’s Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda.

Provided in various district municipalities, these free training courses, tools and in-person coaching through Google’s Digital Skills for Africa and Developer Programmes to help students, job seekers and/or young entrepreneurs acquire the right skills to find a job, advance their careers or start/grow their own businesses.

Google has introduced various skills development programmes and to date have trained more than 3 m students across the African continent.

The global economy and society is undergoing a digital transformation (4IR) which offers enormous opportunities for growth, innovation and jobs. Broadband Infraco and Google aim to help people embrace this shift and the new opportunities it brings, by providing them with the right infrastructure connectivity and skills for their personal and professional growth.