Digital skills and support for young people in the tech sector
Training in future technologies: Orange Digital Centres in Africa and the Middle East teach young people practical digital skills.
‘The Orange Digital Center contributes to Ethiopia's digital transformation while creating local employment prospects for young people. It demonstrates Germany’s and the EU’s commitment to promote inclusive and human-centred digitalisation worldwide,’ said German Ambassador Stephan Auer at the opening of the centre in Ethiopia. It is the third such centre to be opened – Orange Digital Centers have also been set up in Tunisia and Senegal and will be opened in a further eleven countries by the end of 2021, including in Cameroon, Jordan and Morocco.
Tech skills create job prospects
The project, which is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as part of the develoPPP.de programme*, will run until the end of 2022. It is based on cooperation between the French telecommunications company Orange Middle East & Africa and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and is supported by BMZ's Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation.
The aim is to give at least 20,000 young people practical digital skills free of charge to boost their prospects on the labour market. A minimum of 8,000 of these young people are to be placed directly in jobs or paid internships. The Orange Digital Center offer a range of training opportunities: programming schools, a manufacturing workshop with programmable machines for developing prototypes, and a start-up support programme.
‘Learning by doing’: 90 per cent practical training
Teaching started in the coding school in Tunisia in 2010, followed by Senegal at the end of 2019. In 2020, more than 481 young participants have received training in the programming school and 450 have been trained up in the manufacturing workshop in twelve projects in both countries. Around 182 participants went on to secure employment in the labour market. One such student is Alioune Thiaw, a certified data developer from the second class to complete training, who now works for Orange as a sales administrator. ‘Training at the Orange Digital Center is very different to other forms of education in Senegal. It is based on a ‘learning by doing’ approach. The project-based focus of the training means that it is 90 per cent practical.’
Training is still taking place amid the corona pandemic. Some of the courses are now being offered online via the atingi learning platform. In Tunisia, training was provided in programming languages such as Python, artificial intelligence and web design in 2020, for example.
*The develoPPP programme was set up by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to foster the involvement of the private sector at the point where business opportunities and development policy initiatives overlap. GIZ acts as one of two official partners who implement the programme on behalf of BMZ.